The Women’s Final Four Matchup Between Iowa & UConn Was The Most Watched Basketball Game In ESPN History

Iowa UConn women's basketball

The Caitlin Clark effect is REAL.

That was proven earlier this week when Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes took on LSU in the Elite Eight and a record 12.3 million people tuned in to watch the game, making the matchup the most-watched women’s basketball game ever (and the most watched college basketball game that’s ever aired on ESPN).

But last night’s Final Four matchup between Iowa and the UConn Huskies set yet another record.

The much-anticipated matchup featured Iowa and Clark going up against perennial powerhouse UConn, who has their own superstar in Paige Bueckers. And it didn’t disappoint.

The Hawkeyes were up by just 1 point with a few seconds remaining in the game when a controversial foul call on UConn got them the ball back with the opportunity to seal the game and their second straight trip to the national championship.

The resulting turnover forced Bueckers to foul Clark on the inbound, and she drained 1 of 2 free throws to give her team a 2-point lead. Iowa managed to come down with the rebound on the miss, and a jump ball gave the Hawkeyes possession with just 1 second left in the game.

Clark then made a heads-up play while inbounding the ball, bouncing it off Bueckers to run even more time off the clock, essentially sealing the win for Iowa and sending the Hawkeyes to the championship game for the second year in a row.

With all of the attention Clark, as well as superstars like Bueckers and Angel Reese of LSU, have received this year, the popularity of women’s college basketball has soared to never-before-seen levels, especially during the NCAA Tournament.

And last night was no exception.

Last night’s game drew an average of 14.2 million viewers, again setting the record for the most watched women’s game in history, with a peak of 17 million. And it also set the record for the most watched basketball game EVER on ESPN – including college men, women or NBA games. ESPN has had broadcast rights for the NBA since 2002.

For reference, last year’s NCAA men’s basketball championship game between San Diego State and UConn, which was broadcast on CBS, averaged 14.79 million.

And the previous record for ESPN was set during game 7 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference finals between Cleveland and Boston, with 13.51 million viewers.

The game was the second-highest ESPN viewership for a non-football matchup, behind only the 2014 men’s soccer World Cup matchup between the USA and Portugal.

Just insane numbers being put up by Caitlin Clark, both on the court and on TV.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock