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Monday, June 24, 2024

D-I Lacrosse Championship Sets Latest Women’s Viewership Milestone

  • Women’s college sports viewership continues to grow — and the latest milestone was in lacrosse.
  • The championship game on ESPN notched more viewers than any other women’s college lacrosse game in history.
UNC Women’s Lacrosse

Women’s college sports viewership continues to grow — and the latest milestone was in lacrosse.

The championship game between UNC and Boston College notched more viewers than any other women’s college lacrosse game in history. 

An average of 428,000 viewers watched the Tar Heels take home the title, according to ESPN PR. Viewership peaked at 590,000.

Over the past few months, other NCAA Division I women’s sports have had similar success.

Less than 24 hours later, ESPN announced that Saturday’s softball game between Texas and Arizona set a record of its own. The game boasted an average of more than 1 million viewers — more than any other regional or Super Regional in ESPN history.

Women’s basketball saw a 16% ratings increase for the entirety of March Madness compared with 2021, and set multiple records compared with the last several years. Women’s gymnastics and volleyball also demonstrated major growth over 2021.

The ratings could translate directly to revenue for the NCAA if it negotiates its next media rights contracts successfully. 

ESPN has a $500 million contract for 29 NCAA championships. Multiple sports, however, could be worth significantly more when the contract is up in 2023-24.

A 2021 gender equity review found women’s March Madness alone could be worth between $81-112 million a year by 2025. 

The continuous ratings growth of other women’s sports suggests they, too, could be worth more in the next round of negotiation.

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