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NCAAB | Mar 19

March Madness 2024: Women’s Final Four Surges in Popularity

Tickpick Has Sold Six Times More Tickets to the Women’s Final Four Compared to the Men’s

March Madness 2024: Women’s Final Four Surges in Popularity
Guard Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes | Matthew Holst/Getty Images/AFP

Girls Just Want to Have Fun 🎶

This year’s meteoric rise is due primarily to one woman…

The women’s NCAA Tournament is getting more publicity than ever before and much of it has to do with the record-setting season of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. According to reports, ESPN is selling advertising for the women’s title game at five times the price they sold it for in the past.

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The Caitlin Clark Phenomenon

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news and rain on the women’s college basketball parade but this is a special year. The women’s game has a unicorn playing for it named Caitlin Clark and I don’t care if it’s basketball or pickleball, if there is a generational talent making plenty of noise and smashing records, people are going to tune in.

And guess what, some of those people will remain fans but let’s not kid ourselves and believe, even for a moment, that women’s sports will rival men’s. I believe most of us understand that men are stronger, faster, and splashier to watch in all sports.

These are facts, not a knock on female athletes. They should be applauded and given every accolade they earn. But I can tell you this. I had no idea who Caitlin Clark was before this season started and the vast majority of faux women’s college hoops aficionados had no clue either.

Okay, I just wanted to clear the air that I’m writing as a realist, neither a supporter nor a detractor of women’s basketball. And now that I’ve got that out in the open, the ladies are killing it! Caitlin Clark’s stats have torched several records and she is now college basketball’s all-time leading scorer, regardless of gender.

 

Legendary Runs

Hell, there’s even a four-episode docuseries coming up on May 11th and 12th on ABC and ESPN+ called “Full Court Press” featuring Caitlin Clark, Kamilla Cardoso, and Kiki Rice.

Yup, there’s no disputing facts, and below I’ve got a few that’ll make your head turn and your eyebrows arch.

  • FOX showed a 48% increase in women’s basketball TV ratings, contributing to a broader 60% surge across major networks for the 2023-2024 season.
  • The 2024 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament experienced a sell-out for the first time in its 30-year history…. not surprisingly, Caitlin Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes are in the Big Ten and won the conference title this year.
  • The Final Four get-in price for the Women’s Final Four is $774 compared to $242 for the Men’s Final Four.

 

Those are some heady statistics and it’s clear that there is plenty of love for the women’s game and I’m here for all of it. But I will also tell you that without Caitlin Clark defying the laws of nature, these numbers would not be nearly as impressive.

Look, dudes mainly watch sports and most of them watch the men’s game, regardless of what sport it is. Again, this is not a controversial statement, but it also doesn’t mean that women’s college basketball isn’t growing in popularity.

While I agree it will continue to grow, this year’s meteoric rise is due primarily to one woman, and if I ask you six months from now to name a handful of women’s college basketball players not named Caitlin Clark, well, let’s just say I’ll wait.

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