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WCWS Pulls Record TV Numbers

Viewers turned out in record numbers for this year's Women's College World series, not just in the seats at Oklahoma City's Hall of Fame Stadium, but in front of their television sets as well.

According to figures released by Chris Farrow, Coordinating Producer of NCAA Productions, approximately 2,470,000 viewers in 965,000 households saw Arizona beat UCLA 1-0 for the WCWS championship May 28 on ESPN, making it the most-viewed softball game in the history of the network. For the second straight year, the number of WCWS championship game viewers topped every single Major League Baseball game on ESPN and ESPN2 over Memorial Day weekend, according to Farrow.

Including the rebroadcast of the Arizona-UCLA championship game on ESPN, approximately 13.8 million viewers in 5.4 million households saw the WCWS on ESPN and ESPN2, making it the fourth most viewed NCAA Championship in the past year. The WCWS viewership trailed only the Division I Men's Basketball Championship (347 million households -- televised by CBS), the 2001 Division I Women's Basketball Championship (18.9 million households) and the 2000 Division I Baseball College World Series (6.1 million households). Local broadcasts in first or second rounds and special cable or satellite packages are not included in the totals.

Other facts and figures gathered by Farrow:

WCWS Game 7 (California 5, Michigan 2) had 2,024,960 viewers, making it the second-most watched softball game in the history of ESPN (and the most-viewed until the championship).

WCWS Game 10 (LSU 2, Oklahoma 1 in 13 innings) was the most-viewed ESPN2 softball telecast ever, with 1,574,400 fans watching.

The eight WCWS games on ESPN2 (Games 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12) averaged a 0.50 cable rating, beating the 0.45 cable rating average for ESPN2's coverage of the 2001 Division I Women's Basketball Championships.

"The Division I Softball Championship weekend in Oklahoma City was one of the best work experiences of my life," says Farrow. "The incredible action that the entire nation was able to view will surely launch a growth in softball over the next few years."