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Sweet 16 viewership jumps 73% as records continue to fall

Iowa basketball player Caitlin Clark looks for a shot during the NCAA tournament. (Saul Young/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Stock in women’s college basketball continues to rise. 

Viewership for the Sweet 16 rose 73% compared to the same round in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, with an average of 1.2 million viewers. Topping the list of matchups was the battle between No. 3 seed Ohio State and No. 2 seed UConn, which drew 2.4 million viewers on ABC, a record for a Sweet 16 game, ESPN announced Tuesday.

UCLA and South Carolina brought in 1.8 million viewers, while Colorado and Iowa grabbed 1.3 million viewers.

The Elite Eight, meanwhile, averaged 2.2 million viewers – a 43% increase from last year and another record. The most-viewed matchup pitted Louisville against Iowa. Headlined by Caitlin Clark’s triple-double performance, the game averaged 2.5 million viewers and peaked at 2.7 million viewers – more than any NBA game aired on ESPN networks this season. 

To date, the tournament has averaged 660,000 viewers, a 42% increase from 2022.

The viewership records come as the regional rounds set an all-time record for attendance with 82,275 fans across the two sites of Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle. The first two rounds set an attendance record of 231,677 fans.