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Iowa-LSU Sets Record for Most-Watched Women’s Basketball Game Ever

The Iowa-LSU Game Had More Viewers Than Any NBA Game Last Season (Except for One)

Clark and Reese’s Star Power

Women’s March Madness took center stage on Monday night featuring the rematch from last year’s women’s national championship game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the LSU Tigers. Interest in the game was enormous as over 12 million viewers tuned in, the largest audience ever to watch a women’s college basketball game.

 

Iowa-LSU Sets Record for Most-Watched Women’s Basketball Game Ever
Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes - Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

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It was an ideal confluence of events leading up to Monday night’s Elite Eight clash between Iowa and LSU. The two teams are bitter rivals and both have star athletes on their rosters with Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese attracting legions of followers.

 


It was also a rematch from last year’s title tilt in which the Tigers prevailed in a 17-point blowout victory. Therefore, revenge was also another motivating factor for those who are fans of the Iowa women’s basketball team as well as the millions who have been following Caitlin Clark and her record-setting final season in which she surpassed Pete Maravich as the all-time leading collegiate basketball scorer, regardless of gender.

This perfect storm captured a record-shattering audience of 12.3 million viewers who watched Iowa avenge their championship loss with a 94-87 victory over the LSU women’s basketball team. It was an NCAA tournament marquee matchup that did not disappoint and Caitlin Clark’s astounding journey through the women’s college basketball history books will continue for at least one more game when she and her Hawkeye teammates take on UConn on Friday night.

 

Record Numbers

To put this record into perspective, consider that the 12.3 million viewers that this women’s college basketball game attracted on a Monday night in April was greater than:

  • Every women’s college basketball game ever
  • Every ESPN college basketball game ever
  • Every MLB game last season
  • Every NHL game last season
  • Every MLS game last season
  • Every NBA game last season except one
  • Every CFB regular season game last season except one

 

Monday night’s game also broke the previous women’s college basketball viewership record set in 1983 of 11.84 million who watched current LSU coach, Kim Mulkey, and her Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters take on the incomparable Cheryl Miller and her USC Trojans.

It also proved to be a banner night for ESPN as the audience more than doubled any other men’s or women’s college basketball game ever broadcast on the sports media giant’s platform.

Whether interest in the women’s game will continue after Caitlin Clark moves on to the WNBA after this season is anyone’s guess but some, like former Division I guard and current broadcaster Isis Young, believe this current crop of star athletes is leading a movement that’s here to stay.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to make the moment a movement,” said Young. “Right now, women’s basketball is a movement … And the movement is really riding on the back of these players that we’re watching.”

 

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