South Carolina-Iowa women’s national championship game breaks viewership records

The Gamecocks’ third NCAA women’s basketball championship under coach Dawn Staley was won as part of the most-watched sporting event since 2019, apart from football or the Olympics.

South Carolina’s national championship game on ABC Sunday against Iowa was the most watched women’s basketball game in history, ESPN announced on Monday. An average 18.7 million viewers tuned in for the championship, once again shattering a record set earlier in the Final Four. Viewership peaked at 24 million viewers, ESPN said.

The record is also up 89% from last season’s championship and 285% above viewership in USC’s 2022 national title game.

The previous record was set Friday, where No. 1 Iowa and No. 3 UConn drew 14.2 million viewers and peaked at 17 million. It was also the highest audience for any basketball game on record, and the most-viewed college event streamed on ESPN+.

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse announced the championship game was a sellout, with 18,300 fans in attendance. South Carolina won its third national title Sunday after defeating Iowa, 87-75, to complete a perfect season at 38-0.

The Gamecocks’ Final Four matchup against N.C. State averaged 7.1 million viewers, putting it as the third-most watched women’s NCAA semifinal heading into championship Sunday. Both Final Four games averaged 10.8 million viewers, which was a nearly 140% increase from the 2023 NCAA Tournament.