Nearly 275,000 people attended the women’s NCAA basketball tournament, which represented the highest attendance in over 15 years.
More than 40,000 fans attended the Final Four games, which was the most since 2010, while Sunday’s title game between Baylor and Notre Dame had a crowd of 20,127.
“We’ve had a really great championship. Our first and second round numbers is the best we’ve seen in 11 years,” NCAA vice-president for women’s basketball Lynn Holzman said.
The regional stages provided a strong boost: Portland, a first-time site, averaged over 11,400 fans while Chicago and Albany also had strong attendances. The three sites hosted teams with strong fan bases within driving distance: Oregon, Notre Dame and UConn.
“I thought the committee did a really good job of placing teams in places where they were going to get good crowds,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “We were so excited to be able to go to Chicago. I think it was definitely great for the NCAA and for ESPN to see that.”
In 2017, an average of 4,719 fans showed up for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in the four neutral-site venues, which were the lowest regionals attendance in 20 years.
Television ratings for the title game were up 11 per cent from last year. The semi-finals and title game combined were up eight per cent from last season.