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NCAA Rating Increase Despite Second-Lowest Audience for Men’s Title Game

After Another Crazy March Madness, the Ratings Indicate That the Women’s Division Is Dominant

Women’s Supremacy

March Madness, the annual college basketball tournament that takes over NCAAB news, our lives (and our brackets!), has always been a ratings juggernaut. But something strange happened this year: the men’s championship game viewership dipped to a record low, while the women’s championship soared to new heights.


NCAA Rating Increase Thanks to Women’s Basketball
Coach Dawn Staley/Sean Rayford/Getty Images/AFP

A Championship Letdown for Men’s Basketball

UConn’s victory over Purdue was exciting. But for the first time, fewer people tuned in to watch the men’s title game compared to the women’s. This year’s audience of 14.82 million viewers was the second-lowest ever, a significant drop from the record-breaking 18.87 million who watched the South Carolina women take home the gold.

This isn’t the only sign of a potential slowdown in NCAAB games viewership. Ratings for the men’s championship have been steadily declining in recent years, with the past three games ranking among the least watched on record.

Let’s break down the viewership numbers for young adults. The championship game scored a 3.7 rating among 18-49-year-olds, which is down from last year’s 4.7. The story’s similar for the even younger crowd (18-34-year-olds) – this year’s game got a 2.9 rating, compared to 3.5 last year. Fewer young adults were tuning in this time around. Even when compared to other basketball games over the past year, the championship only ranked fourth for 18-49-year-olds and fifth for 25-54-year-olds. The NBA Finals still seem to be the king when it comes to grabbing the attention of younger viewers.

So, What’s Going On?

A few theories are floating around. Maybe the dominance of traditional NCAA basketball powerhouses in the early rounds is making things a bit predictable. Or perhaps viewers are getting tired of the late-night tip-offs, especially on weekdays. The rise of alternative entertainment options could also be playing a role.

But one thing’s for sure: the women’s basketball scene is stealing the spotlight! This year’s record-breaking viewership for the championship game is a testament to the incredible talent and heart these athletes bring to the court. Hopefully, this will inspire even more people to tune in and support the women’s game throughout the season.

While the overall tournament viewership was slightly up this year, the declining numbers for the men’s championship are a cause for concern. Maybe it’s time for the NCAA to consider some adjustments to keep March Madness exciting and relevant for a new generation of fans.

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