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NCAA women’s tournament sees 15 percent jump in TV ratings

Creighton's Rachael Saunders elevates for a shot in the second round against Iowa. (Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Viewership for the NCAA women’s tournament is up 15 percent through the first two rounds, according to ESPN. The second round averaged 474,000 viewers, a 25 percent increase over 2021.

Games in the first and second round were televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPNU and ESPNews. Nearly 26 million hours were viewed on ESPN’s platforms, per the network.

A total of 1.13 million viewers tuned in Monday to watch UConn eke out a 52-47 win against UCF. That made the contest the most-viewed early-round game since 2009. UConn next will take on Indiana at 2 p.m. ET Saturday.

On Sunday, 993,000 viewers watched Creighton upset Iowa. The Bluejays will face Iowa State at 9:30 p.m. ET Friday in the Sweet 16.

The tournament championship is set for 8 p.m. ET Sunday, April 3, on ESPN. Last year’s final between Stanford and Arizona averaged 4.08 million viewers, a 10.5 percent increase over 2019.

More fans tuned in during this past regular season as well, with viewership on ESPN up 132 percent over 2020.

The first two rounds of this year’s tournament also broke an attendance record that had stood for nearly 20 years.