Why Women's NCAA Basketball is Surging Relative to Competition
What the NBA and other men's sports could learn from its big advantage
Two responses have dominated my inbox this week at House of Strauss Industries:
Wos is your best guest.
Have you seen this stat about NCAA women’s viewership versus the NBA?
I’m not sure the Wos situation requires further explanation, so here’s the stat, which has gone viral:
Now to be fair to the NBA, this is a single-elimination playoff game, stacked up against regular season games of less consequence. But still, the contrast means something. And beyond that, it represents another horseshoe in sports culture. The reaction to the stat prompted right-leaning sports commentators to dump on the NBA, their spiritual enemy, while also allowing for left-leaning women’s sports supporters to tout women’s ability to gain market share relative to men. Basically, it made nearly everyone happy outside of Adam Silver.
There’s a lot going on here.
While it should be noted that ratings figures have been juiced in the post-pandemic period, that doesn’t explain the success of NCAA women’s game relative to the NBA’s. It also doesn’t explain, in a perhaps even more intriguing contrast, the NCAA women’s recent success relative to the men’s college players. So what’s happening? There are many factors but I suspect that one reason matters significantly more than the others. I just wish I was the first to put it forward.