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This year’s Women’s College World Series (WCWS) on ESPN’s family of networks averaged 1,196,000 viewers for its 15 games from May 28 –June 3 to set a record for viewership.

 

The best-of-three WCWS Championship Finals, in which Florida won its second-straight NCAA title by defeating Michigan two games to one with a 4-1 victory on June 3, was the most-watched finale in history, averaging 1,912,000 viewers from June 1-3. The third game drew 2,273,000 viewers, second only to Tennessee and Arizona’s 2007 finale (2,326,000 viewers) as the most-watched WCWS game in history. Florida and Michigan’s second game had 1,865,000 viewers to rank sixth on the all-time list.

Overall, this year’s WCWS boasted four of the 10 most-watched games since records started being kept in 1990. Game 12 between LSU and Michigan had a fourth-best 1,950,000 viewers, while the Game 9 matchup between UCLA and Auburn drew 1,612,000 viewers, to rank ninth on the list.

Detroit was the top individual local market, with a 4.0 rating, while Birmingham, Ala. (3.9), host city Oklahoma City (3.5), Knoxville, Tenn. (3.4) and Jacksonville, Fla. (3.0) also scored top ratings. Games were also popular in Orlando, Fla. (2.8), Tampa, Fla., Dayton, Ohio, and Nashville (all 2.3), as well as Greenville, N.C. (2.0).

ESPN’s coverage of the 12 bracket-round games netted an average of 1,055,000 viewers, which was bettered only by that portion of the 2011 WCWS, which drew 1,114,000 viewers.

The increase in popularity of WCWS games on the web via WatchESPN compared to last year’s event was clear, with both average minute audience (up 168 percent) and average game unique viewer (up 124 percent) analytics significantly increased. The full average audience (up 209 percent) and total minutes (up 200 percent) spiked as well.

The WCWS followed ESPN’s record-setting college softball regular season on its networks. With games televised as usual on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU, plus the addition of the SEC Network and expansion of ESPN3 coverage, ESPN broadcast more than 400 games this season.

—Courtesy ESPN

Most-Viewed Games in WCWS History:

Rank

WCWS Year and Game

Matchup

Viewership

1.

2007 Championship Finals – Game 3

Tennessee vs. Arizona

2,326,000

2.

2015 Championship Finals – Game 3

Michigan vs. Florida

2,273,000

3.

2005 Championship Finals – Game 3

Michigan vs. UCLA

2,240,000

4.

2015 Game 12

LSU vs. Michigan

1,950,000

5.

2007 Championship Finals – Game 2

Arizona vs. Tennessee

1,919,000

6.

2015 Championship Finals – Game 2

Florida vs. Michigan

1,865,000

7.

2003 Championship

California vs. UCLA

1,852,000

8.

2009 Championship Finals – Game 2

Florida vs. Washington

1,788,000

9.

2015 Game 9

UCLA vs. Auburn

1,612,000

10.

2004 Championship

California vs. UCLA

1,593,000

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