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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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LSU-Iowa Clash Will Showcase Rising Value of Women’s March Madness

  • The Elite Eight features a rematch of last year’s championship game.
  • Caitlin Clark leads Iowa in what could be her final college game.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Final Four of the women’s NCAA tournament isn’t fully set yet, but the dream matchup of March Madness—for fans, TV executives, advertisers, and ticket brokers alike—is finally here. 

Monday night features a rematch of last year’s title game: College basketball’s biggest superstar, Caitlin Clark, will lead No. 1 Iowa against fellow name, image, and likeness standout Angel Reese, alongside one of the sport’s most outspoken coaches, Kim Mulkey, at No. 3 LSU. The Tigers’ 102–85 victory over the Hawkeyes last April drew a record 9.9 million viewers on ABC, making it the most-watched women’s college basketball game and the largest audience for any college basketball game—men’s or women’s—on Disney’s platforms.

Both schools are now vying for one of the last two spots in this year’s Final Four, joining undefeated top-seeded South Carolina and the surprise three-seeded NC State.

In Demand

But Monday’s matchup is bigger than just another step in skyrocketing viewership for women’s hoops. Disney says ad sales revenue for women’s March Madness has already doubled last year’s haul. For advertisers, games with Clark playing are 7% more effective than those without Iowa’s top player, according to research from TV outcomes company EDO. And watching Iowa-LSU up close and in person in Albany, N.Y., isn’t cheap. On the NCAA’s official ticketing website, the lowest price to get in the building is about $170. 

No matter who wins Monday night, the game’s result will have a big impact on the rest of the tournament, off the court. An Iowa victory would keep the Caitlin Clark train alive into another Final Four, while an LSU win would deprive championship weekend of its biggest star, but welcome back the defending champs who have been making plenty of noise in recent weeks.

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