How Women’s Basketball Still Gets Deprioritized On TV

How Women’s Basketball Still Gets Deprioritized On TV
Photo by Ben Hershey / Unsplash

[the following is an excerpt from TVREV, where you can read the full piece]

Looking at iSpot data for the 2022-23 college basketball regular season, first-airing men’s college basketball games delivered more ads across national linear TV and RSNs than any other program (over 123K). Those ads amounted to 2.40% of all TV ad impressions (live programming only) from Nov. 7, 2022-Mar. 12, 2023 – No. 3 overall in that stretch, trailing only the NFL and college football.

Women’s games, however, had just under 31K airings and 0.17% of TV ad impressions. No, the math doesn’t create parity between the two sports, even if you extrapolate women’s college basketball airings to be equal to the men. But part of that also comes from when these games are taking place. For instance, iSpot can shed light on days of the week and dayparts where games (and ad airings) appear.

Men's games

Women's games

The major differences here should be clear: 39% of ad airings during women’s college basketball games appear on weekend afternoons, and 38% appear on Sundays. For most of the season, it’s running up against TV’s biggest tentpole property, the NFL. Of course women’s basketball games can’t deliver more impressions in those timeslots – no program on TV can, because the NFL has attention locked down already.

Meanwhile, 37% of men’s college basketball ad airings are in primetime, and 32% are on Saturdays (which get much clearer from an attention standpoint once college football’s regular season wraps up). So the games are getting more optimal windows with minimal competition.