Iowa-South Carolina Shattered Women's College Basketball Viewership Records

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) dribbles the ball during the National Championship against South Carolina.
Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) dribbles the ball during the National Championship against South Carolina. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa and South Carolina's national Championship tilt on Sunday shattered women's college basketball television rating records, as the 2023-24 season ended on a high note.

The final game of the legendary collegiate career of Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark captivated the nation's attention, and ESPN reported Monday that it was the most watched women's college basketball game on record, dating back to 1992.

The championship bout recorded an average viewership of 18.7 million viewers and a peak of 24 million on ESPN and ABC. Those figures were up 89% from last year's final and a staggering 285% from 2021-22. Since 2019, no basketball game at any level–men's or women's–has generated a larger television audience.

The 2023-24 NCAA women's tournament has been receiving plenty of attention on a national level. Viewership records have been shattered at multiple stages of the tournament, culminating in another record-setting evening as Clark aimed to end her college career with a ring.

Ultimately, Dawn Staley's Gamecocks proved too much for Iowa and improved to a perfect 38–0 on the year with Sunday's championship win, 87–75, despite a 30-point effort from Clark.

After Sunday's loss, Clark maintained that, despite the defeat, she was extremely proud of what she'd accomplished in terms of growing the sport of women's basketball.

"That's the thing about everything I've done, there's so much to be proud of. I don't sit and sulk about the things that never happened," said Clark on not winning a championship.

After seeing the record-setting viewership put up by this year's women's national championship, Clark couldn't help but celebrate the monumental achievement.

Karl Rasmussen


Karl Rasmussen is a writer on Sports Illustrated’s Breaking & Trending News Team. A University of Oregon alum, his work has appeared on 12up and ClutchPoints. He’s a loyal Tottenham, Jets, Yankees and Ducks fan.