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Ratings shrink for women’s championship basketball game

in Apolitical/Sports/Top Headlines by

Not only that, but Gotham was a repeat.

So did you catch any of the dynasty in the making? Did you see any of the coronation? Did you watch UConn win a ring for the last finger on its hands.

Turns out, you were in rare company.

Like an old episode of Glee, people seem to be tiring of the familiar. According to ratings, a dwindling TV crowd watched the UConn-Notre Dame game in Tampa last week.

At a time that women’s basketball is supposed to be growing, that has to be somewhat of a disappointment. Viewership  was the lowest TV crowd in six years, down a whopping 28 percent from the same game last year. It was down 4 percent from UConn’s title the year before.

Is it Geno Auriemma winning his 10th title? Are fans fatigued from watching UConn? Was it that the game was a rematch of the old standby of the Huskies against Notre Dame? Was it that most people figured UConn would win?

The good news was that semifinal games were both up in viewership (one by 4 percent, one by 12 percent). Maybe it’s because Tom Cruise took in the game.

Of course, the TV ratings have almost nothing to do with where a game is played. Still, it’s a sobering number.

Viewership for the men’s tournament was up 8 percent, and the Duke-Wisconsin title game was up 33 percent. Perhaps that hurt the women’s viewership as well. Perhaps people weren’t ready to see both.

Regardless, it was the third-least watched telecast since the tournament started being broadcast 20 years ago. When an audience reduces itself by more than a quarter, it’s a statement.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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