- Final Four Weekend Viewership is up 14% from 2019 – Most-Viewed Since 2012
- ESPN Networks Score Viewership Gains Throughout Tournament
- 2021 Tournament Sees Number of Firsts, Including Coverage on ABC and All 63 Games Full National
The 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s College Basketball Championship game – a thrilling 54-53 victory for top-seed Stanford over Arizona – averaged 4,077,000 viewers and is the most-viewed women’s championship game since 2014.
The matchup of Pac-12 rivals is up nine percent from the 2019 title game (Notre Dame-Baylor, 3,727,000 viewers). The audience peaked in the final minutes with 5,927,000 viewers.
This year’s Final Four weekend in San Antonio is also the sport’s best since 2012. Friday’s two semifinal matchups and Sunday’s championship game averaged 2,850,000 viewers, a 14 percent increase from 2019.
Top-12 markets for the championship game among available markets:
|1||Hartford & New Haven||6.9|
Friday’s two semifinal games averaged 2,203,000 viewers, up 20 percent from the 2019 semifinals on ESPN2.
No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 1 Stanford on ESPN averaged 1,676,000 viewers, up 11 percent from 2019’s first semifinal game. Viewership peaked at 2,696,000 in the last full quarter hour (8 – 8:15 p.m. ET) when Stanford notched a 66-65 victory over South Carolina.
No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 1 Connecticut averaged 2,692,000 viewers, up 24 percent from 2019’s second semifinal. Viewership peaked at 3,597,000 in the last full quarter hour (11:15 – 11:30 p.m.), when underdog Arizona stunned No. 1 UConn in a 69-59 victory for its first-ever championship game appearance.
The Elite 8 on ESPN averaged 1,186,000 viewers, up six percent from 2019. The battle between No. 2 Baylor vs. No. 1 UConn averaged 1,703,000 viewers, the most-viewed Elite 8 game since 2011 when Notre Dame faced Tennessee.
The Sweet 16 on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 918,000 viewers, up 67 percent from 2019. It is the fifth most-viewed Sweet 16 round on record and the most-viewed Sweet 16 since 2013. The No. 5 Iowa vs. No. 1 UConn showdown averaged 1,563,000 viewers, the second most-viewed Sweet 16 game on record.
First and Second Rounds
The first round on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 205,000 viewers while the second round on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU averaged 378,000 viewers. This year, for the first time, all first and second round games were distributed full national.