(Jade Hewitt/Athletes Unlimited)

Athletes Unlimited announced Thursday that its new AUX softball competition drew big numbers on ESPN throughout its entire 18-game series.

Viewership increased 74 percent over the second season of Athletes Unlimited softball. Additionally, social media engagement was up 268 percent and web traffic increased 783 percent from last year.

The news comes as viewership numbers for the WCWS showcased softball’s increasing popularity.

The two-week AUX season marked the first time that AU was featured on ESPN’s networks, kicking off a new, multi-year agreement between the two entities.

“These incredible results for our new AUX Softball expansion are further proof that the audience for women’s sports is massive and hungry for more great content,” said Jon Patricof, CEO and co-founder of Athletes Unlimited. “We can’t wait to build on this momentum with our softball and lacrosse championship seasons this summer, and will continue to push for more creative and fun opportunities for our athletes as well as our fans.”

Over the next two years, ESPN will air more than 160 live Athletes Unlimited games between softball and lacrosse. Athletes Unlimited lacrosse will begin its second season on July 21 and run through August 14, while the second season of softball will begin July 29.