The NCAA Division I Women’s Championship Game will be broadcast live on the channel for the first time in April – a long-awaited slam dunk for women’s sports.
Having the championship title air on ABC, Burke Magnus, the president of programming and content at ESPN, said, “has been a goal for quite some time in our ongoing efforts to maximize the exposure of women’s sports in collaboration with the NCAA,” according to a press release.
The decision comes on the heels of high viewership numbers for 2022’s title game. Even with the Grammys airing at the same time, South Carolina’s faceoff with UConn managed to nab 4.85 million viewers on ESPN, according to The Athletic – a first for the championship game in almost 20 years.
The national semifinals also saw an uptick in viewership by 21% year over year, ESPN reported.
“It’s a benchmark announcement for women’s basketball,” said Beth Goetz, chair of the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball committee.
The game was originally slated to air nationally in 2020, Magnus said, but the pandemic derailed those plans.
“Women’s NCAA championships continue to generate strong audiences across the ABC/ESPN networks and this move represents yet another unique opportunity to showcase this marquee event,” he added.