March Madness Ratings, Attendance Up Ahead of Final Fours

    • The men's tournament appears to be rebounding from its pandemic slump.
    • The women's tournament is continuing to build upon previous growth.

From ratings to ticket sales, there’s major momentum going into both the men’s and women’s Final Fours this weekend.

According to the numbers, the men’s tournament has already bounced back from a pandemic slump it experienced along with many other men’s sports.

Men’s first four games in Dayton and regionals sold out, NCAA senior VP of basketball Dan Gavitt told reporters on Thursday. TV ratings are down only 1% compared with the last “normal” tournament in 2019 — a feat considering the dip they took last year. 

The women’s tournament — which experienced major growth despite the pandemic and a gender equity fiasco — has continued to build upon last year’s impressive numbers.

Through the Elite Eight, women’s tournament viewership is up 11% compared with 2021, ESPN announced. Last year’s tournament is the only comparable one, as it was the first time all women’s games were broadcast nationally.

The first and second rounds also broke previous attendance records, per the NCAA. As for what to expect this weekend? Gavitt predicts both Final Fours will sell out.