NCAA women's basketball ratings Angel Reese Paige Bueckers The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is seeing ratings gains all over.

The Caitlin Clark Show, presented live in technicolor, is one of the hottest tickets in town right now.

Iowa’s phenomenon has led to a powerful surge in women’s college basketball interest this season. And while Clark is worthy of her star power and incredible enthusiasm, there’s a trickle-down effect going on as well.

When booms happen, the top of the pack booms the brightest, allowing everyone else to succeed. The famous phrase, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” tangibly applies to women’s college hoops this month. Many have flocked to see Clark and her Hawkeyes as March Madness rolls on, but attention is spreading.

ESPN’s Flora Kelly made a noteworthy observation this week. Kelly noted that while Clark and Iowa continue to smash TV audience records for women’s college basketball, it’s not all just going to the Hawkeyes.

“Non-Iowa games are also up +74% YoY,” Kelly noted. That is a substantial uptick in interest and ratings over a year.

Last year, ESPN made headlines when it opted to broadcast the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Game on ABC for the first time ever. Additionally, the network decided to air four opening-round games on over-the-air television during the tournament’s opening rounds. This year, the network followed the same formula—and it’s working.

It will be interesting to see if the momentum can continue. Last year, only one of the Sweet 16 games—Ohio State vs. UConn—aired on ABC. This year, the network intends to air two Sweet 16 games and two Elite Eight games. No Regional Final aired on ABC last year, but instead aired on ESPN. Over-the-air television allows for a broader audience so that a significant uptick might be on schedule.

Especially when you consider the matchups this weekend, Angel Reese and LSU will take on traditional basketball power in UCLA, and then the Caitlin Clark Show will take center stage in the ensuing game as Iowa battles Colorado. Based on the schedule, the Elite Eight matchups on Sunday could feature Cameron Brink and Stanford against Kamilla Cardoso and the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks. That’s potentially a big-time matchup, and the weekend, in general, will see plenty of great action and stars all over. Hannah Hidalgo and Notre Dame, Paige Bueckers and UConn, among many others, will play throughout the weekend.

It’s true that ESPN has gone all the way in with Caitlin Clark. Some of it is easily explainable, but clunkiness is a potential issue. It doesn’t seem to be bristling anyone too heavily, as everyone has arrived for the show and plans to stay a while. Women’s college basketball is now on a significant climb up the ladder.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022