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Women’s college basketball TV ratings off to a fast start in 2021


The women’s college basketball season is underway and the ratings are already skyrocketing.

Tuesday’s game between No. 1 South Carolina and No. 5 NC State drew 506,000 viewers on ESPN and peaked at nearly 700,000, making it the most-viewed regular season opener since 2013. The Gamecocks defeated the Wolfpack 66-57 behind 17 points from senior Zia Cooke to start the season 1-0.

The ratings represent a 179 percent increase over the 2020 season opener.

It’s a continuation of a trend in women’s sports, which has enjoyed increased viewership across multiple leagues, including the WNBA and NWSL. At the collegiate level, the 2021 Women’s College Softball World Series drew more viewers than the men’s tournament did.

The women’s college basketball season continues with another top-25 matchup on Friday, as No. 6 Louisville takes on No. 22 Arizona at 4:30 p.m. ET.