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Women’s March Madness Viewership Is Up, While Men’s Declines

  • Women’s Sweet 16 viewership went up 73%, while Elite 8 viewership increased 43%.
  • Men’s Elite 8 viewership, however, went down 14%.
Mar 26, 2023; Seattle, WA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Lisa Bluder reacts after cutting down the net after the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Climate Pledge Arena.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Women’s March Madness viewership continues to skyrocket with this year’s regional rounds — while the men’s tournament experiences a slight decrease.

Women’s Sweet 16 viewership on ESPN went up a whopping 73% compared with last year for an average of 1.3 million per game, according to the network. Elite 8 viewership increased 43% for an average of 2.2 million viewers per game.

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  • The top Sweet 16 matchup was Ohio State’s upset of UConn, which garnered 2.4 million viewers on ABC.
  • During the Elite 8, Louisville-Iowa drew 2.5 million. 

Both games set all-time viewership records for their respective rounds.

Meanwhile, the men’s tournament on CBS/Warner Bros Discovery continues to draw more overall fans than the women’s — but viewership is declining. 

The men’s Elite 8 saw a 14% decline compared with last year’s rounds, according to Sports Business Journal. In total, the men’s tournament viewership is down slightly.

However, the numbers are a healthy increase from the tournament played during the height of the pandemic in 2021.

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