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Women’s March Madness final scores record 9.9m viewers on ABC as LSU clinch title

Viewership up 103% YoY, shattering 2002 title game ratings record.

4 April 2023 Rory Jones

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Louisiana State University’s (LSU) win over the University of Iowa in the Women’s March Madness final reached 9.9 million viewers on the ABC commercial network, setting a viewership record for a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s basketball game.


  • Average audience for the title game jumps up 103 per cent year-over-year (YoY)
  • Viewership for LSU Tigers’ 102-85 win against the Iowa Hawkeyes peaked at 12.6 million across all Disney-owned platforms
  • Final sets a new all-time audience high for a men’s or women’s college sports event on the ESPN+ subscription streaming service
  • Before the title game, the two ‘Final Four’ matchups were the most-viewed basketball games ever on ESPN+
  • Women’s March Madness semi-finals average 4.5 million viewers on ESPN’s linear network
  • Iowa’s ‘Final Four’ win over South Carolina averaged 5.5 million viewers, peaking at 6.6 million
  • Average of 3.4 million viewers tuned in to watch LSU beat Virgina Tech, hitting a peak of 5 million


Viewership for the 2023 NCAA women’s basketball final shatters last year’s average of 4.9 million viewers and surpasses the previous record of 5.2 million set for the 2002 title game. This year’s Women’s March Madness eclipsed numerous viewership records, with the ‘Elite Eight’ games averaging 2.2 million viewers, up 43 per cent YoY.

Coming next:

Next year is the last of ESPN’s current broadcast contract for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, if this growth is maintained there will not be a shortage of suitors when talks on the new deal roll around. After the increased interest in this year’s Women’s March Madness, the NCAA will be hoping for strong numbers for the men’s Final Four and title game on CBS when they get released later this week. 

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