From Billie Jean King’s Battle of the Sexes to Coco Gauff’s iconic US Open win, renowned sport historian reminds the world of staggering WTA viewership numbers after IOWA-LSU game draws in shocking digits

Despite WTA criticism for low viewership, record-breaking facts speak for themselves.


From Billie Jean King’s Battle of the Sexes to Coco Gauff’s iconic US Open win, renowned sport historian reminds the world of staggering WTA viewership numbers after IOWA-LSU game draws in shocking digits

(L) Coco Gauff and Billie Jean King, (R) Gauff with her US Open trophy (Images via: Imago/X))

Over the years, the increase in the viewership of women’s sports has increased to a phenomenal level, which has ruled out the debate that it is not attractive like men’s sports.

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A sports investor on X (formerly known as Twitter) shared reports about the record-breaking viewership for the NCAA women’s basketball game between Iowa and LSU. 

With 12.3 million viewers for the Iowa-LSU game, it became the highest-viewed women’s CBB game ever. It was also higher than the 2023 NBA Finals, the 2023 World Series, the 2023 Orange Bowl, and many others.

The fascinating record led a tennis journalist to reel out some of the mind-blowing historical viewership in the women’s tennis matches. 

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He compared the women’s basketball records to some of the WTA’s record-breaking viewership matches, such as Chinese Li Na’s 2011 French Open win, which attracted 116 million viewers just in China. And the 1973 Billie Jean King triumph against Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” match, which had about 90 million viewers. 

Coco Gauff’s 2023 US Open win against Aryna Sabalenka had only 3.4 million viewers on ESPN alone, just in the USA.

The facts are clear: despite several criticisms about the poor advertisement of women’s tennis, it is far better than many popular sports. However, it also proves how much women’s sports in general have grown phenomenally in the present decade.

Despite low viewership criticism, WTA records speak for themselves

Tennis fans and players often criticize the WTA for having low viewership and shoddy broadcasting practices, despite the fact that it has managed to get several record-breaking viewerships compared to other sports.

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Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams
Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams (Source: NBC News)

Last year’s US Open final between Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka had 3.1 million viewers on ESPN, compared to Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev’s men’s final with 2.3 million viewers. 

Besides that, in the 2018 US Open Women’s Final, featuring Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, 1.9 million viewers were recorded on ESPN alone, while men’s singles recorded 1.5 million.

The 2018 WTA Finals had a cumulative viewership of 9.3 million in China, where it hosted the event. A great viewership achievement that set the WTA to project the 2018 season broadcast viewership of 600 million and a digital viewership of 300 million, up 20% from the previous year.

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