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ESPN moves NCAA basketball championship game to primetime

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ESPN announced Friday that the women’s basketball championship final will air on ESPN in primetime on Sunday, April 3 at 8 p.m. ET. The game will be live from the Target center in Minneapolis and be preceded by a one-hour pregame show, the NCAA Women’s Championship Special presented by Capital One, at 7 p.m.ET.

The women’s Final Four will air Friday, April 1 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

“The Division I Women’s Basketball Championship continues to grow in popularity, and we are excited to see what a move to primetime can do for viewership of our championship game,” said Nina King, athletics director at Duke and chair of the Women’s Basketball Committee. “This is a unique opportunity this year and we look forward to sharing our sport with more viewers across the country and shining an even brighter spotlight on the amazing student-athletes competing for the national championship.”

The full bracket of 68 teams participating in this year’s tournament will be revealed this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN2. Full tournament coverage will be announced Monday.

“The collaboration between ESPN and the NCAA in anticipation of this year’s Women’s Basketball Championship has been unprecedented,” added Nick Dawson, ESPN vice president programming and acquisitions. “Together, we are committed to elevating the sport and this marquee event as we celebrate these student-athletes who reach the pinnacle of success as collegians.”

Last year’s final between Stanford and Arizona did major numbers on ESPN, drawing in over four million viewers, a 10.5 percent increase over 2019.