What do collegiate basketball viewing figures say about the sport’s future?

Anyone who follows college basketball knows that the game is in good health right now. The number of awesome coaches currently working in it (such as Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo) are a good example of this. Of course, the plethora of top college teams and top players also plays its part in explaining why the sport is in such a great place.

Many people will also point to the flourishing sports betting scene that helps to make games extra exciting to watch and showcases college ball to more people. Checking out top college basketball odds today is something many fans do in order to find the best odds to bet on.

Another sign of the vibrant state of college ball is the recent viewing figures it has posted. The 2021 NCAA men’s championship game between the Baylor Bears and Gonzaga Bulldogs, for example, drew 16.9 million viewers. The March Madness semi-finals were also a hit in 2021, as an average of 12.9 million viewers tuned in to see the top men’s college teams battle it out. This was a rise of around 12% from 2019. All this is in addition to the millions who tune in across the USA to watch college basketball games in regular season.

But what might all this mean for the sport’s future?


Future of college sports looks rosy

The current viewing figures around college ball show that the sport is in for a bright future. There seems to be more interest than ever in the college basketball scene and this is reflected in the number of people who follow it regularly. This is great news for the sport, as it means it will generate more revenue from a larger fanbase, gain more headlines in the media and maintain its high profile in the sporting arena. Extra interest from viewers should also see more revenue from increased TV rights deals, and college teams should benefit from this as a result.


Increasing interest in women’s game

As well as current viewing figures for collegiate basketball pointing to a bright future in general, they may also hint at how specific areas of the sport could develop. The women’s NCAA March Madness success in 2021 looks to have opened the floodgate for this side of college ball, for example.

This was a riveting tournament that connected with a lot of fans who did not previously watch the women’s game. Over 1.5 million viewers on average tuned in for the UConn/Baylor matchup, while the 2021 version was the first time this century that ABC provided coverage of the women’s tournament. This combination of more TV coverage plus more viewers surely points to this being the future of college basketball.


Why is college basketball popular?

While it is easy to see what recent viewing figures for collegiate basketball could spell, it is also worth looking at why more people are now watching the sport. To begin with, you have to factor in the recent growth of the women’s game. This has opened up college ball to a whole new demographic and pulled in more viewers as a result.

Many people also like to watch college basketball because they feel it is more exciting and truer to the spirit of the game than the NBA. College athletes are not motivated by money and the sport is not yet geared around how much people earn or which players are worth most. This can be a refreshing change from the pro game and people enjoy watching players who are out on court for the love of it. There is also lots of drama and gossip to follow in college ball – Gerald Gillion’s appointment as Chicago State head coach being a great example.

For many viewers, it is all about the emerging young talent and getting a glimpse of the superstars of the future. People love seeing top players coming through and starting out on their journey into the pro ranks. As a result, viewing figures for college ball should remain strong in the future.


College basketball viewing figures a plus

When you also factor in the increased access to college games on TV and people telling their friends how great the game is to watch, it is no surprise to see viewing figures for this sport looking so healthy. As we move into the future, it seems likely that the sport will continue to develop in a positive way and that viewing figures will continue to grow with it.