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The Surge: Women’s Sports Viewership Hits Record Highs

Over+90%2C000+gather+at+the+University+of+Nebraskas+Memorial+Stadium+to+watch+a+womens+volleyball+match
Terry Ratzlaff NYT
Over 90,000 gather at the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium to watch a women’s volleyball match

In a world full of trends, one has come to light as a beacon of change and progress–the remarkable surge in women’s sports viewership in 2024. The shift is not just a momentary blip on viewership radars, but a testament to the growing recognition, appreciation, and celebration of women’s athletic talents. 

Historically speaking, women’s sports have been overshadowed by their male counterparts and pushed to the sidelines in terms of media coverage, sponsorships, and fan support and engagement. The rise in media coverage is accredited to the surge of historical all-time high viewership in this year’s Women’s March Madness Tournament. 

An article by Sportico explains, “Back in January, ESPN inked an eight-year, $920 million dollar media rights extension with the NCAA that included the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship as part of an all-encompassing deal”. 

ESPN’s new deal is largely attributed to the spike in viewership as it values the women’s tournament with $65 million more than half of the $115 per year deal. The $65 million deal is twelve times the annual value of the women’s tournament in the previous deal. 

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Author William Mao goes on to say, “Viewership was up 55% year-over-year for the 2023 edition, every round saw at least double-digit increases in audience, and last year’s title game featuring Iowa and LSU was the most-viewed women’s college basketball game on record.”

Every fan wants a player to root for, and with players such as Caitlin Clark, Paige Beuckers, Angel Reese, and many more, fans finding someone to cheer for is simple. During the 2024 March Madness games, many stars like Clark caught the attention of celebrities such as country music star Tim McGraw, who was seen sporting Clark’s jersey at his concerts. Many more celebrities such as Eagles and Forty Niners star quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy were seen in attendance at women’s basketball games during this year’s 2024 March Madness tournament. 

Not only broadcast viewership is on the rise, but in-person attendance  is on the rise as well. In the summer of 2023, the Nebraska versus Omaha volleyball game broke the world record for attendance at any women’s sporting event. The event attracted 92,003 people and was held in Memorial Stadium. The stadium, most notably known as their football stadium holds 85,458 people for a football game. The volleyball game allowed for floor seating around the court, allowing the game to surpass the stadium’s regular seating. 

The surging popularity of women’s sports is more than just a passing fad as it represents a shift toward a greater appreciation and celebration of female athletes. While broadcasting deals are made,  viewership is on the rise, and in-person attendance records are made, the attention on women’s sports is prevalent. With a wave of new and upcoming stars taking the world by surprise and grabbing the attention of millions, the future looks bright for women’s sports. The playing field is being leveled and women’s athletic achievements are taking their deserved place and spotlight and we can only hope for more.

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Figueira
Isabelle Figueira, Reporter
Isabelle Figueira, a junior, joins the Miter this year as a staff writer. She gets her local news from sources such as KING 5 and KIRO 7, and national news from ABC News.    At Blanchet, she plays varsity tennis with coach Turner. She is one of many leaders in the ski and snowboard club and enjoys anything outdoors. Isabelle loves Blanchet sporting events, and cheering from the stands. She hopes to get involved in more clubs and activities this upcoming year. Outside of school, she enjoys playing tennis and spending time with friends and family, and enjoying the outdoors.     This year in journalism, Isabelle hopes to capture and captivate the spirit of Blanchet through her writing in the Miter and Pallium, our annual yearbook. She looks forward to this year and is excited to take on the challenge of creating one awesome yearbook!

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