Caitlin Clark’s Championship Matchup Shatters Viewership Record with 89% Surge – Even She Was Shocked by the Numbers

Caitlin Clark’s Championship Matchup Shatters Viewership Record with 89% Surge – Even She Was Shocked by the Numbers

The Caitlin Clark effect set viewership records for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, as games in which she played set three viewership records in one week, with each game setting a new high.

It began when Clark and her Iowa Hawkeyes knocked out LSU on April 1 in the Elite Eight, drawing what was then a record from a women’s basketball game of 12.3 million viewers, according to the New York Post.

The record did not last long. Friday’s Final Four squeaker that saw Iowa defeat UConn drew 14.2 million viewers, setting a new record, according to Deadline.

But as Clark showed throughout her career, records are made to be broken.

On Sunday, as South Carolina roared past Iowa for the women’s NCAA championship, viewership on ABC and ESPN hit 18.7 million viewers, an 89 percent increase from the LSU-Iowa finale of a year ago.

Clark noted the record on X.

Clark told the BBC making her sport part of mainstream America has been “the coolest part” of her career.

“Everybody sees the viewership numbers,” she said. “When you’re given the opportunity, women’s sport thrives, and that’s been the coolest part for me on this journey.”

“We started the season playing in front of 55,000 people. Now we’re ending it in front of 15 million people on TV. It just continues to get better and better, and that’s never going to stop,” she said.

“When you continue to give them the platform, things like this are just going to continue to happen,” she said.

“People will remember the moments that they shared at one of our games or watching on TV, and how excited their daughter or son got about watching women’s basketball. That’s pretty cool. Those are things that mean the most to me,” she said.

Deadline dug into the numbers and determined the game was “the second most-watched non-Olympic women’s sporting event ever on U.S. television.” The 2015 Women’s World Cup Final was the only women’s non-Olympic event to top it.

Deadline reported that the game was ESPN’s most-watched basketball game since 2019 and — excluding football and the Olympics  — its most-watched event since 2019.

When The Athletic went to put the numbers in perspective, it found that the women’s NCAA final was in very rare company.

The game topped “Every World Series game since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series; Every NBA Finals game since Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals; Every Daytona 500 since 2008; Every Masters final round viewership since 2001; All but four college football games in 2023,” the Athletic wrote.

“She has raised the excitement of our sport,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said, according to Fox Sports.

“There’s no doubt. She does things in a different way than anybody else can do,” she said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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