Softball history was made on Saturday, with the Women’s College World Series airing on ABC for the first time ever.
No. 1 Oklahoma faced off against Texas in the marquee match, with the Sooners downing the Longhorns 7-2.
The 𝐅𝐈𝐑𝐒𝐓 ever Women's College World Series game on ABC starts now!📺 @ABCNetwork #WCWS pic.twitter.com/TIhIIKHbc0— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 4, 2022
The 𝐅𝐈𝐑𝐒𝐓 ever Women's College World Series game on ABC starts now!📺 @ABCNetwork #WCWS pic.twitter.com/TIhIIKHbc0
“To think that we are in a game on ABC is just a wow factor for me personally,” said Oklahoma head coach Patty Gaso. “For our sport, for women’s athletics, it’s just off the charts. I am really anxious to see what kind of viewership there was because it’s just going to continue to help this whole sport just continue to grow.”
ESPN has poured investment into the Women’s College World Series, expanding the channel’s coverage of the tournament in recent years.
According to Meg Aronowitz, ESPN’s coordinating producer, a scheduling change from four Saturday games to two opened the door for ABC. “It allowed programming to identify and hone in on ABC windows, and that opened up a lot of opportunity,” Aronowitz told Hook’Em.com.
Those who tuned into Saturday’s matinee were treated to a show, with Jocelyn Alo hitting the 118th home run of her career, making history as the first player to record three 30-homer seasons.
𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐧’ into the Semis@78jocelyn_alo | #ChampionshipMindset pic.twitter.com/vKZ9L8Phoj— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) June 4, 2022
𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐧’ into the Semis@78jocelyn_alo | #ChampionshipMindset pic.twitter.com/vKZ9L8Phoj
Viewership numbers for the opening games of the WCWS look promising thus far. Day one of the event averaged 813,000 viewers, making it the most-viewed opening day of the tournament since 2008. The most-watched game of the day was Florida and Oregon State’s Tuesday matchup, bringing in 901,000 viewers.
ABC will continue its coverage of the WCWS on Sunday with the matchup between No. 14 Florida and No. 5 UCLA airing at 3 p.m. ET.