It’s only been a few weeks since Outkick launched david hookstead Blamed some non-existent waking-ISM Manifesto to Appoint Women’s College Basketball Dominating ESPN.com’s Front Page. a few weeks before that, jason whitlock was foaming Ahead of SportsCenter on the cusp of women’s basketball highlights. Welp, the boogeyman is back again, as the women’s NCAA tournament has been a much better product fueled by more great characters and storylines throughout March.
We have seen Stanford’s upset at the hands of Ole Miss, Maddie Siegristscoring explosions of Caitlin clarkof planetary range, and ofim Mulkey’s Confetti-Colored Fits While men’s Coach these days stagger on the sidelines in morning sweaters. South Carolina’s spotless record and Virginia Tech joining the upper echelon of college hoops was a more enticing product than the John Doe tales on which the Broken Men genre depends. The group of women has finally struck the right mix of early upsets and the UConn monopoly has been replaced by multiple powerhouses vying for the top spot. It’s all relative, but the men’s Final Four field looks like survivors from the wreckage of a March Madness.
audience trend reflect that dynamic. The women’s tournament has already set records for total minutes watched and average viewers per game, and viewership is projected to increase by 42 percent from the 2022 tournament after 56 games played. Sunday’s Iowa-Louisville Regional Final was watched by more viewers than any NBA game on ESPN all season. Iowa’s victory over Georgia in the second round had the highest number of spectators for any opening round game on record.
even with the yukon booted before sweet 16 For the first time in nearly two decades, women’s Final Four ticket prices have surpassed the price fetched for men’s games. South Carolina and Iowa are the best shows to air on Friday nights. A chart-topping solo star being pitted against an undefeated band of defending champs who break souls on defense is an easier plot than to sell. Team Life Wallet Versus UConn and another Hurley brother.
rivalry like don Staley Vs. Mulkey (or Geno Auriemma) has time to stew. Meanwhile, on the other side of the tracks, eyes were being turned from the men’s tournament en masse. Creighton and San Diego State could not fill Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center in the Elite Eight. John Lewis of Sports Media Watch reports athletic That final weekend will likely rank among the lowest viewership numbers seen in 2016, and Douglas Pucci, a Programming Insider editor, is betting on CBS enduring the lowest NCAA men’s Final Four ratings ever.
Last April’s Kansas and North Carolina Finals most watched Championship game in cable history. However, the Blue Bloods bloodbath that infuriated viewers decimated the ratings and fueled harmful narratives about the viability of women’s hoops. For all the struggles the WNBA has had to pool resources, charter flights and achieve consistent ratings, women’s college basketball has shown that it’s not the product, but the infrastructure that makes the difference.
Not that there was a dearth of quality contests in the men’s tournament. The Sweet 16 matchup of UCLA-Gonzaga was a battle between the knowns and Kansas State-FAU was a thrilling seesaw thriller.
However, one of the attractions of college basketball is its status as an NBA minor league. The tournament is where casual fans get to witness the emergence of future All-Stars. Twenty years ago, Dwyane Wade, leading Marquette to the Final Four, made him a household name. that was the same yearhello anthony Syracuse headed for the title. Steph Curry was a revelation leading Davidson to the Elite Eight in 2008. nba Stars in Training The upcoming draft’s other top prospect plays for the G League Ignite and the Thompson Twins have had games suited to national audiences but overtime gone the elite path.
In contrast, the nature of the WNBA’s draft eligibility rules, zero money flowing into the sport, coupled with stars who have built cachet over the years, have turned women’s college basketball into a platonic ideal for college athletics. The transfer portal that’s wreaking havoc on men’s college hoops isn’t as impressive on the women’s game, when most five-star recruits need to exhaust their eligibility before entering. wnba Format.
The women’s NCAA tournament is in its heyday while the men’s tournament’s consistent record of success is a bubble that is ready to burst. The men’s 2023 March Madness has been swiftly decimated by the blue bloods and top seeds and half of the Final Four has been a Cinderella story. It can also become ideal. It’s not a binary choice, but given the current state of men’s college basketball, the women’s tournament deserves your consideration to watch. If you are not paying attention then it is your loss.
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