Survey: Interest in Women’s Sports Spikes

 ESPN women's basketball championship celebration.
ESPN women's basketball championship celebration.

Following record ratings for ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s Basketball Final Four games, Magid has released new data showing a significant growth in interest in women’s basketball.

The Magid research survey found that the fanbase for women’s college basketball has increased by +50%, growing from 12% in May of 2023 to 18% in March of 2024, just as the 2024 NCAA tournament kicked off, according to the 24th wave of Magid’s AD.VANTAGE research.

The Magid AD.VANTAGE Study identifies key demographic drivers of the notable growth in all sports interest across all categories

An increase in interest like this truly stands out, explained Jaime Spencer, executive vice president of Local Media at Magid, who oversees the research that tracked this change. The demographics of the growing fanbase also hint that this momentum may be more than a pop culture moment in time.

"This isn't just about new fans coming to sports, or more women following sports,” Spencer said. “The core group driving this is already the core sports fan base. So, more seasoned sports fans are adopting these additional sports, which speaks to the potential for the trends to stick."

The major demographic driver of the growth in Women's College Sports interest came from younger men with children in the home, the study found.

This group of established sports fans is gravitating to the sport, driving record TV ratings and attention. According to the research, 34% of March 2024 respondents said they were watching the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament this year (higher among Males, Under 45, with Children at Home, with household incomes in excess of $100K), up from 27% last year.

The Magid research also found an even greater jump in attention to Women's Professional Sports, as interest grew from 13% to 21% over the same time span.

"When you factor the growing WNBA figures into this, we see a real trend with staying power, particularly as the number of stars coming up in college continues to grow,” Spencer said. “Caitlin Clark is undoubtedly the face of this Women's Sports growth, but it is bigger than just her. What is really cool is that it appears she may be ushering in a trend that will grow beyond and even outlast her.”

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