all scores

LSU-Iowa title game shatters viewership record for women’s basketball

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The numbers are in, with the NCAA women’s basketball national championship game drawing record viewership.

The title game between LSU and Iowa drew an average of 9.9 million viewers, an increase of 103% from 2022. The 2023 final aired on ABC for the first time, while the 2022 final aired on ESPN.

With that total, LSU’s championship win stands as the most-viewed women’s college basketball game on record. At its peak, the game reached 12.6 million viewers. 

The numbers continue a trend started in previous rounds, with the Final Four also setting viewership records.

The viewership mark for the title game nearly doubles the previous record, set in the 2002 final between UConn and Oklahoma. That matchup drew 5.68 million viewers, and Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Diana Taurasi were all playing for UConn.

“When people come and watch and understand the game, they see how fun and how great the product is, and they keep coming back for more,” Iowa star Caitlin Clark said after the game Sunday. “It doesn’t surprise me.”

And to further put the viewership numbers into perspective, the ratings for the game topped several football games, any MLS game ever and every Stanley Cup game since 1973.

On top of viewership, this year’s tournament also broke attendance records. The NCAA announced that a total of 357,542 fans turned out for the entirety of the tournament, shattering the all-time record. 

“This is the game we love and seeing it get the recognition it deserves is obviously super rewarding,” Iowa center Monika Czinano said Sunday. “It’s about time women’s basketball gets this kind of viewership, and it can only go up.

“It’s only going to get more exciting and more fun. The game is evolving in such a great way. I’m glad you’re tuning in now, but keep it up.”