Caitlin Clark, Iowa vs. South Carolina WCBB Title Game Peaks at Record 24M Viewers | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 04: AP Coach of the Year Dawn Staley of the South Carolina Gamecocks and AP Player of the Year Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes speak during the award press conference ahead of the 2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 04, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If it felt like seemingly everyone was tuned in to watch Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes face South Carolina in the 2024 NCAA women’s tournament championship game on Sunday, that is because everyone wasn’t far off.

ESPN announced Monday that South Carolina’s win peaked at 24 million viewers, which made it the most watched basketball game at any level for men’s or women’s since 2019. It was also the most watched sporting event outside of the Olympics or football since 2019:


’24 <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NCAAWBB</a> Natl. Championship ended the season with a bang on ABC &amp; ESPN<br><br>🏀18.7M viewers, peak 24M<br>🏀Up 89% from ’23 &amp; 285% from ’22<br>🏀Most-watched basketball game (men’s or women’s, college or pro) since ’19<br>🏀Most-watched sporting event since ’19 (excl. football &amp; Olympics) <a href=””></a>

Not only did the game set those marks, but it represented a stunning jump from recent years of the event.

The ratings were 89 percent higher than the 2023 championship game—which also featured Clark and the Hawkeyes—and 285 percent higher than the 2022 title game—which also featured head coach Dawn Staley’s South Carolina team.

Clark reacted to the ratings:

The championship game was the culmination of an incredible regular season for women’s college basketball that saw the game explode in popularity.

While Clark generated much of the buzz with her record-setting season, she was far from the only headline star. Players such as Angel Reese, JuJu Watkins, Paige Bueckers, Cameron Brink and Kamilla Cardoso, among others, drew plenty of headlines and drove much of the increase in interest.

But Clark was still the headline act of the season.

The Iowa star captured the attention of the nation by launching three-pointers from well beyond the arc and dishing out perfectly placed passes all while passing Pete Maravich to become the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer.

That she played in so many highly anticipated showdowns against programs such as LSU, UConn and South Carolina to finish her NCAA tournament run in the championship game only added to her legend and the television ratings.

Ultimately, she and the Hawkeyes didn’t have enough to stop a dominant South Carolina team.

The Gamecocks won all 38 of their games this season and took home their second national title in three years. Staley has built a powerhouse program, and it would be anything but a surprise to see South Carolina cutting down the nets a number of times in the future.

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