Women’s college sports get boost in TV ratings, visibility

The Associated Press - June 19, 2021 8:43 am

James Madison starting pitcher Odicci Alexander (3) stands in the pitching circle as Oklahoma's Jayda Coleman (24) celebrates at second base behind her after hitting a double in the fifth inning of an NCAA Women's College World Series softball game Monday, June 7, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A record-setting Women’s College World Series last week capped off a dynamic year of increased visibility for NCAA Division I women’s sports. Television viewership was up significantly compared to 2019 in the four most popular sports: basketball, softball, gymnastics and volleyball.

ESPN expanded its volleyball coverage this year to include every match of the championship on an ESPN platform. Women’s basketball games were broadcast on ABC for the first time.

The three softball championship series games between Oklahoma and Florida State averaged a record 1,840,000 viewers. The average for the 17 games was up 10% over 2019.


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