Oklahoma City

Women’s College Sports Get Boost in TV Ratings, Visibility – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-06-19 18:05:18 –

Oklahoma City-Odicci Alexander created a sensation overnight at the Women’s College World Series.

James Madison’s dynamic, affectionate and humble pitcher, well-known among avid softball fans, was the favorite Oklahoma of the unseeded team stun tournament in the opening game earlier this month. I threw a complete game to help and introduced myself to the audience all over the country. The next day, she defeated Oklahoma and threw another complete game, giving birth to a star.

Alexander drew a standing ovation when he left the field when her team was eliminated in the semi-finals. Fans watching on TV and streaming devices were disappointed to see her go-and so was ESPN, which has been broadcasting WCWS since 2000.

Nick Dawson, ESPN’s Vice President of Sport Programming at University, called her appearance and the fight against Oklahoma an “inclusive story of the event” and said she was in good shape for a memorable week.

“She was the dominant pitcher to pair with the biggest aggressive softball team in sports history in the opening game of the Women’s College World Series,” Dawson said.

In the limelight

In 2021, the coverage of Division I’s women’s sports received particular attention, and the record-breaking WCWS is the latest example of growing interest, a fairer stadium compared to men’s events. Demand for

ESPN has been experimenting with more women’s sports on various platforms in recent years, and the large number has made the network more aggressive. TV viewership has increased significantly compared to 2019 in four of the most popular women’s college sports: basketball, softball, gymnastics and volleyball. The network has expanded the scope of volleyball this year to include all championship matches on the ESPN platform.

Walt Disney Co. owns ABC and ESPN, and Dawson said ESPN is promoting more sports programming at ABC’s Saturday afternoon spots. This year, ABC broadcast the women’s basketball and women’s softball games for the first time.

The average number of viewers for the women’s gymnastics final at ABC was 808,000, an increase of 510% over the 2019 final at ESPNU.

Ripples of increased exposure are felt. According to the Social Blade social media analytics site, Alexander gained more than 50,000 Instagram followers within a week of defeating Oklahoma. Since then, she has signed a professional contract with USSSA Pride.

“Penetrated into culture”

Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture, said: “She permeated the culture. That’s an important part of the story.”

Alexander’s story resonated at various levels. She is a black player, mostly white sports, who knocked out the final national champion while playing in an up-and-coming school.

“I’m sure there was a great story filled with all of the prosperity of these great stories, like her, who has been in women’s sports for years,” Thompson said. There wasn’t much space given. “

File-Oklahoma players celebrate with a trophy after defeating Florida in the final round of the NCAA Women’s College World Series Softball Championship on June 10, 2021 in Oklahoma City.

The average audience for the three championship finals between Oklahoma and Florida was a record 1.84 million, an increase of 15% compared to 2019. The average WCWS for 17 games is 1,203,000, an increase of 10% compared to 2019 for the 2019 Men’s College World Series.

“Finally, there is this perception that if you show it, people will see it,” Thompson said. “And there was a lot of resistance to women’s sports. Perhaps many people who manage many media outlets, many who manage different sports venues, can’t get such numbers. Probably because they thought. What they wanted. “

As the number of viewers increased, coaches spoke using a wider range of platforms.

Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said changes are needed to ensure that the sport makes positive progress as it grows in popularity. She pointed out a problem she had in the WCWS format and said she needed to consider adding more days, eliminating doubleheaders and ensuring that the game ended in a reasonable amount of time. ESPN and NCAA are discussing these issues, but the NCAA Division I Softball Committee oversees the format and schedule of the event.

Basketball too

The women’s basketball final four was also highly evaluated. The number of viewers of the championship game exceeded 4 million, the highest total since 2014, an increase of 9% from 2019. The average number of viewers in the semi-finals was 2.8 million, the highest since 2012, up 20% from 2019. 14%.

The average number of viewers for Kentucky and Texas volleyball championship matches was 696,000, an increase of 28% from 2019. The Kentucky victory was the most watched television broadcast on ESPN2 in April.

Growth includes the number of sports exposed. ESPN has added ice hockey, field hockey and cross-country skiing to the Spring Women’s Sports Championship schedule, increasing the total number of women’s championships broadcast by the Network to 15.

Dawson said ESPN will continue to be active in expanding programming opportunities for women’s sports. Thompson said it made sense.

“Women’s sports have a lot of room for growth,” he said. “If I were thinking of investing in a future genre of entertainment in the United States, women’s sports would be close to the top of my list.”

Women’s College Sports Get Boost in TV Ratings, Visibility Source link Women’s College Sports Get Boost in TV Ratings, Visibility

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