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Women's Sports Step Forward to Help Network

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Over the years, the question has been asked: When will the network boost women’s sport by making it more visible?

But the truth is, as we saw in several announcements this week, the women’s college basketball national championship on ABC in the spring of 2023 and the NWSL championship game on CBS in prime time on October 29. is. Sports have audiences, and whenever there is a new opportunity, there is a track record that makes it easy for networks to put marquee events on the bigger platform. It helps the network stem an audience tide that is shrinking in virtually every other respect.

Let’s start with the decision by ESPN to move the national title game, widely expected to feature Aaliyah Boston and South Carolina, from ESPN to ABC.

NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Commission Chair and Athletic Director Beth Getz said: in the province of Ball. “We are grateful to ABC/ESPN for their partnership in the continued growth of the game and the championship.”

I mean, sure. But last year, he drew 4.46 million viewers for the U.S. Championship game on ESPN. It beat all other cable TV shows that night. And it was on par with what ABC showed that night, including American Idol.

Of course, the reason this is deceiving is that TV broadcasts could reach over 120 million households. ESPN? 76 million and rapidly declining. It’s hard to imagine next year’s National Title Game ratings not going up dramatically. It’s clear that ABC is benefiting from this move, even if it’s only a small increase.

The numbers are more mixed when it comes to NWSL title games on CBS. There’s no real baseline in the championship—he collected 525,000 eyeballs last season. This is a significant increase from his 2019, but still reflects the noon timeslot. For CBS, it’s a chance to see what NWSL’s title game cam brings to audiences with his 60 Minutes lead-in. It’s safe to say that none of us who have covered the league up until a few years ago could have imagined this. , when NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush, who has since departed, was under contract for the league to be televised midway through the season.

However, CBS has another important reason to improve NWSL’s marketing methods and capabilities. My contract with the league is coming to an end. Unlike in the Plush days, there is a growing understanding throughout the television world that women’s live sports are a goldmine of potential ratings.

Jessica Berman, not Jeff Plush, stresses the importance of broadcast windows in new TV deals.

Needless to say, CBS listened to her.