Associated Press2 minute reading
BRISTOL, Conn. — LSU’s 102-85 win over Iowa in Sunday’s national championship game was the most watched NCAA women’s basketball game ever, with 9.9 million viewers on ABC and ESPN2, according to Nielsen’s fast national numbers.
Total viewers were up 103% from last year, South Carolina defeated UConn and averaged 4.85 million on ESPN and ESPN2. Sunday viewership reached 12.6 million at one point.
LSU’s first national title in women’s basketball was the first on network television since UConn’s victory over Tennessee in 1995. That game averaged 7.4 million on CBS.
ESPN acquired the rights to the entire tournament the following year. The previous network high for the women’s national championship game was in 2002, when UConn beat Oklahoma.
The record ratings come as the NCAA decides whether to split the women’s tournament or keep it as part of a championship TV package that includes at least 24 games. That deal expires next year, and the NCAA is expected to decide the next steps in negotiations in the fall.