Associated Press8:52 p.m. Eastern Time2 minute read
BRISTOL, Conn. — LSU’s 102-85 victory over Iowa in Sunday’s national championship game was the most-watched NCAA women’s basketball game in history, with 9.9 million viewers on ABC and ESPN2 according to quick national figures from Nielsen.
Total viewership is a 103% jump from last year, when South Carolina defeated UConn and averaged 4.85 million on ESPN and ESPN2. Viewership on Sunday at one point peaked at 12.6 million.
LSU’s first national title in women’s basketball was its first on network television since UConn’s win over Tennessee in 1995. That game averaged 7.4 million on CBS.
ESPN took over the rights to the entire tournament the following year. The network’s previous record for a women’s national championship game was in 2002, when UConn beat Oklahoma.
The record ratings come as the NCAA is deciding whether to separate the women’s tournament or keep it as part of the championship television package that includes at least 24 sports. That contract expires next year, and the NCAA is expected to decide the next steps in negotiations in the fall.