The 2022 March Madness Tournament viewership has increased across all ESPN platforms covering the women’s games. During the first two rounds of the NCAA Women’s Tournament, viewership increased by 15%. The second round averaged about 474,000 views, which is a 25% increase from 2021. This 2022 tournament has also already broken records for the most-viewed games. The UCF versus UConn game reached 1.13 million viewers, making it the most widely viewed early-round game since 2009. When Creighton upset Iowa, the game reached 993,000 viewers. These first two rounds broke attendance records that stood for about 20 years. This is exhilarating in the world of women’s sports because it goes to show that people want to watch the women’s game, but they simply need access to do so.
March Madness is always predicted to receive more viewers than regular-season games, just like the World Series in baseball. But more people watched the women’s regular-season games on ESPN this year with viewership up 132% from 2020. Next weekend is going to be exciting with the Final Four and the championship games; it will be interesting to see how the viewership increases across platforms like ESPN. We can only imagine it will break last year’s records, especially with the projection viewership is going as of now, from the first rounds.
With coverage of these teams and athletes firing all over social media and other platforms, these players and the women’s tournament are finally getting the coverage they deserve. For example, people should know that Paige Bueckers is continuing to lead UConn to a potential tournament victory. People also had the opportunity to see that epic steal by Raina Perez with 20 seconds left in the game to lead NC State into the Elite Eight. Whether it was watching the game live, on ESPN, or watching it spread all over social media, people saw Perez make a play exceptional enough to be in a sports movie.
The women’s game is intense, thrilling, and inspiring. It’s wonderful to see the data show when people have access to these games, many will tune in.