Women’s March Madness Game Pulls In Higher Ratings Than Every ESPN NBA Contest This Season

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Andrew Powell Sports and Entertainment Blogger
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Women’s basketball is on the rise.

It used to be something to make fun of — ha, ha, ha women’s basketball. But here in 2023, the sport is skyrocketing in ratings, with one women’s NCAA March Madness tournament game (Iowa vs. Louisville) pulling in higher ratings than every NBA game that has been broadcast on ESPN this season.

A total of 2.499 million viewers tuned into ESPN on Sunday to watch Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes take out Hailey Van Lith and the Louisville Cardinals, 97-83 — higher ratings than any NBA game that has been featured on the network the entire campaign, according to The Athletic.

The highest-rated NBA game broadcast on ESPN this season, the March 5 showdown between the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, drew 2.14 million viewers, according to Showbuzz Daily via OutKick.

Some will say this is the fault of the NBA, but I have to disagree with that sentiment.

We’ve seen the reports about how the women’s NCAA March Madness tournament has seen a huge increase in ratings over last year’s tournament — a 27 percent increase to be exact.

It’s been a whopping increase for women’s basketball, and that’s just what’s going on — women’s hoops is getting more popular. And the reason that Iowa vs. Louisville got such high ratings was because it was a tournament game. Just wait until the NBA Playoffs start, then those ESPN games will start outperforming the women’s games again. (RELATED: Brawl Nearly Explodes After Draymond Green Tries To Kick Herb Jones In The Head During Warriors-Pelicans Game)

I wouldn’t read too deep into this though, because it’s quite simple: Women’s basketball is on the rise.