College Softball News

Huge TV Viewership for Women’s College World Series

UCLA’s walk-off win over Oklahoma to claim the National Championship was watched by 1.8 million viewers Tuesday night according to ShowBuzzDaily.com making it the most watched College Softball game since Game three of 2015 WCWS between Michigan and Florida (2.27 million). The Bruins win over the Sooners is the eighth most watched Women’s College Softball telecast of all-time.

The game also delivered the fourth-largest baseball or softball audience on cable this year according to SportsMediaWatch.com, behind three Sunday Night Baseball games — Red Sox-Yankees last weekend (1.97M), Braves-Phillies in March (1.87M) and Cardinals-Cubs last month (1.81M).

Below is list of most watched College Softball games of all-time.

1- 2007 – Tennessee vs Arizona, Game 3 of Championship Series- 2.33 million

2- 2015- Michigan vs Florida , Game 3 of Championship Series- 2.27 million

3- 2005 Michigan vs UCLA, Game 3 of Championship Series- 2.24 million

4- 2015- LSU vs Michiigan, WCWS Semi-Final – 1.95 million

5- 2007- Tennessee vs Arizona, Game 2 of Championship Series- 1.92 million

6- 2015- Michigan vs Florida, Game 2 of Championship Series-1.87 million

7-2003- California vs UCLA – Championship Game – 1.85 million

8- 2019- Oklahoma vs UCLA – Game 2 of Championship Series-1.8 million

Game one which featured UCLA ‘s blowout 16-3 win over Oklahoma garnered 1.341 million viewers which is higher than last year’s Game 1 between Florida State-Washington. The game more than doubled ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball telecast between the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners which had 515,000 viewers. Baseball Tonight, which resided from the Women’s College World Series for the first time ever, had 440,000 viewers on Monday night.

Overall the Women’s College Series Championship series between UCLA and Oklahoma averaged 1.6 million viewers for the two games which is up from last year’s two game series between Florida State and Washington; averaging 1.35 million viewers.

The 2017 Championship Series between Florida and Oklahoma averaged 1.7 million viewers while the 2016 Women’s College World Series between Auburn and Oklahoma, a three game series, averaged 1.3 million viewers. 2015 Championship Series between Florida and Michigan which also went three games and averaged 1.9 million viewers which is the all-time record for a three game championship series average.

Alabama -Oklahoma Most Watched Semi-Final Since 2015

Oklahoma’s win over Alabama in the decisive game of semi-final Sunday was watched by 1,430,000 million viewers on ESPN2. It is the most watched semi-final game since 2015’s match up between Michigan and LSU: watched by 1,950,000 million viewers and good for the fourth most watched WCWS game of all-time.

Alabama’s dramatic 1-0 win in eight innings to force a winner take all-game that aired on ESPN and switched to ESPN2 at 7pm garnered 1,372,000 million viewers.

UCLA’s 10 inning win over Washington earlier, aired on ESPN, was watched by 1,276,000 million viewers.

Both way up from last year’s semi-finals where only FSU-UCLA’s first game had 1one million viewers.

Bedlam Most Watched Winner’s Bracket Game

Bedlam’s Winner’s bracket game between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma on Friday night was the most watched winner’s bracket game pulling in 1,058,000 million viewers as the Sooners defeated the Cowgirls, 6-1. This number sets a new record previously set in 2015 between Michigan and UCLA which recorded 989,000 viewers.

UCLA’s win over Arizona, the contest game prior to Bedlam, garnered 866,000 viewers which is second most watched winner’s bracket game on ESPN behind only Bedlam.

Alabama vs Oklahoma on Thursday Night Most Watched Opening Day

The World Series got off to great start on opening day. The opening Thursday night game on ESPN2 (Oklahoma versus Alabama) was the most watched opening Thursday WCWS game since 2015: Michigan and Alabama watched by 1.006 million viewers.

The Sooners 3-2 win over the Crimson Tide was watched by 974,000 viewers according to ShowBuzzDaily.com. The Sooners and Tide more than doubled the audience from last year’s night session in same time slot of UCLA versus Florida State’s numbers: 438,000 viewers.

What is amazing about this year number compared to 2015 is that the Alabama-Michigan contest did not go up against an NBA Finals game like the Alabama-Oklahoma game did this season.

Not to far behind is Oklahoma State’s 2-1 win over Florida which pulled 865,000 viewers: the second most watched WCWS game on the opening Thursday night since 2015. In comparison in the same slot last year: Florida versus Georgia had 538,000 viewers.

Both Oklahoma State-Florida and Alabama-Oklahoma crushed ESPN’s airing of the National Spelling Bee (555,000 viewers) despite the fact that ESPN2 is in lesser homes than ESPN.

As for the afternoon session, UCLA win over Minnesota garnered 621,000 viewers which is up from last year’s Oklahoma-Washington game in same time slot on ESPN (571,000) while Arizona win over Washington had 499,000 viewers which is up from last year’s Oregon-Arizona State game (428,000).

To put these numbers in perspective, here is breakdown of most watched WCWS games each season on the opening Thursday since 2015.

2018- Oklahoma vs Washington 571,000

2017- Washington vs UCLA 571,000

2016- LSU vs Auburn 562,000

Amazingly Alabama-Oklahoma, Oklahoma State-Florida and UCLA-Minnesota all had more viewers than the most watched opening Thursday Women’s College World Series game in 2016-2018.

Washington-Oklahoma State Most Watched Elimination Saturday game since 2015.

Washington’s 1-0 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday night was watched by 1,261,000 million viewers and was the fourth highest rated cable program on Saturday night for the audience in the 18-49 demographic. It was the most watched elimination game since 2015’s elimination game between UCLA and Auburn (1,590,000 million viewers) that was the tenth most watched WCWS game of all-time.

Alabama’s demolition of Florida was watched by 1,042,000 million viewers and was the second most watched game of Saturday.

Alabama 2-0 win over Arizona, which did not start until 11:32pm ET, was watched by 879,000 viewers.

Washington’s elimination of Minnesota, the first elimination game of Saturday, was watched by 640,000 viewers.

Overall, eight WCWS telecasts and nine total NCAA Tournament games hit over one million viewers; the most the tournament has ever recorded. In comparison, this year’s Women Basketball’s NCAA Tournament had six games garner over one million viewers with three of them involving UConn.

The WCWS averaged 1.1 million viewers which is second best behind only the 2015 Women’s College World Series that average 1.2 million viewers.

Among the viewership demographics that increased for the Women’s College World Series (according to ESPN media relations) came from men within the 12-37 age demographic, up 75%, while men ages 18-34 was up 41%. Here is breakdown below.

  • Men 18-34: up 45%
  • Women 18-34: up 41%
  • Men 12-17: up 75%
  • Women 12-17: up 36%

According to ESPN media relations, the Super Regional coverage (May 23-26) averaged 510,000 viewers across 19 games, the most-watched Super Regional round since 2008, and up 36% from 2018. Also according to ESPN, regular season games on ESPN’s Nielsen rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) were up 40% this season, with the 28 games on ESPN/ESPN2 (up from 23 games last year) averaging 266,000 viewers per game.

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