2024 NCAA Women’s Championship and Final Four on ESPN Platforms is Most Watched on Record

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2024 NCAA Women’s Championship and Final Four on ESPN Platforms is Most Watched on Record

  • National Championship Delivers 18.9M Viewers – Most-Viewed Women’s College Basketball Game on Record and Most-Viewed College Basketball Game (Men’s or Women’s) Ever on ESPN Platforms
  • Iowa-South Carolina Clash Becomes Second Most-Watched Non-Olympic Women’s Sporting Event Ever on U.S. Television Behind 2015 Women’s World Cup Final
  • Three-Game NCAA Women’s Final Four Averages 13.8M Viewers, Most on Record

With final Nielsen reporting completed, Sunday’s epic title bout between No. 1 women’s seeds Iowa and South Carolina scored 18.9 million viewers, becoming the most-viewed women’s college basketball game ever and ESPN platforms’ most-viewed college basketball game (men’s or women’s) on record. The showdown peaked at 24.1 million viewers in the game’s final 15 minutes as South Carolina stormed to their second NCAA trophy in three years.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by Capital One is now the second most-watched non-Olympic women’s sporting event ever on U.S. television behind the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final between the U.S. and Japan. Sunday’s Championship clash between the Hawkeyes and Gamecocks is the most-watched annual sporting event – excluding football – across all networks since 2019. The audience was up 90% year-over-year and 289% from 2022 and is the most-watched basketball game (college or pro, men’s or women’s) in five years.

Leading into the history-making matchup, the one-hour NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Special Presented by Capital One delivered 2.9 million viewers. ESPN’s post-game studio programming averaged 1.4 million viewers as the Gamecocks lifted the NCAA trophy and cut down the nets in Cleveland. SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt immediately following the National Semifinals drew 6.3 million viewers, the most-viewed SVP edition of SportsCenter on record.

The fan-favorite Bird & Taurasi Show Presented by AT&T recorded the largest championship game audience in its three-year history with 1.4 million viewers on ESPN. The offering is the second most-watched alternate telecast for a college event on ESPN platforms, just behind Field Pass with The Pat McAfee Show from the 2024 Rose Bowl Game.

The three-game 2024 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Cleveland was the most-viewed Women’s Final Four on record, averaging 13.8 million viewers. The trio of games was up 114% year-over-year and 299% higher than 2022.

The National Semifinals notched 11 million viewers, the most watched on record. Friday’s matchups were up 142% year-over-year and 307% from 2022. Iowa-UConn finished with 14.4 million viewers, the second most-watched women’s college basketball game on record and ESPN’s most-watched basketball game (college or pro, men’s or women’s) on record. The high-octane showdown between the Hawkeyes and Huskies peaked at 17.3 million viewers and is also the most-watched college event ever on ESPN+. The late semifinal was up 156% over 2023’s late semifinal between Iowa and South Carolina. The early semifinal featuring NC State and South Carolina finished with 7.2 million viewers, the most-watched early National Semifinal on record and an increase of 108% year-over-year. The Clash of the Carolinas peaked with 9.1 million viewers.

A complete look at the viewership records set across ESPN platforms during NCAA Women’s March Madness and the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship will be released on Wednesday.

Amanda Brooks

Amanda is the Senior Director of Communications overseeing publicity strategy for ESPN’s entire college sports portfolio, including college football and the College Football Playoff, 40 NCAA Championships and ESPN's college networks. Amanda is a proud alum of Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., and earned her master's in ethics from Vanderbilt University. A native of Kent, Ohio, she is a die-hard Cleveland Guardians fan.
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