Report: TV Rights to NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Are Vastly Undervalued

Is this another example of inequality between the tournaments?

Basketball net
More revelations about inequality in college basketball have come to light.

For fans of college basketball, March and early April bring with them some of the best games you’re likely to see. Both the men’s and women’s tournaments abound with powerhouse teams, upset victories and compelling narratives. But this year, there’s also been a higher degree of attention paid to the differences between the two tournaments – and, more specifically, the ways in which inequality plays a role.

The most noticeable way that manifested up until now was via a much-publicized contrast between the men’s and women’s facilities for their respective tournaments. A new report by Emily Caron and Eben Novy-Williams at Sportico suggests that there’s another way in which inequality factors in to the tournaments — namely, the wildly different costs for their television rights.

Caron and Novy-Williams make a very convincing case that the rights to the NCAA women’s basketball tournament could be sold for far more than they currently are. Unlike the men’s tournament, rights to the women’s tournament are sold as part of a package of more than 20 NCAA championships.

Based on viewing data, however, there’s strong evidence that the women’s tournament could be sold on its own, at an asking price of $20 million annually. The article offers more breakdowns of viewing statistics and television ratings; after reading it, you too may find yourself wondering if the NCAA wouldn’t be wise to sell broadcast rights to the women’s tournament as a standalone package.

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