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LSU-Iowa women’s NCAA championship draws bigger audience than average Thursday night NFL game in 2022

From Deion Sanders’ high step in the end zone to Randy Moss pretending to moon Packers fans, Mike Florio and Chris Simms reflect on the best trash-talk moments in NFL history.

Women’s college basketball has had its moment. And it was a big one.

Sunday’s national championship game between LSU and Iowa, capped by an overblown taunting controversy that made the Twitter legacy account holders interrupt their collective blue-check evaporation vigil, drew an audience of 9.9 million on Sunday. It helped that the game was televised by ABC. Regardless, 9.9 million is a massive live audience for a sport that many insist no one cares about.

It’s more than the average audience of 9.6 million generated by Amazon’s Thursday Night Football in 2022. And, yes, there’s a difference between ABC and Amazon. But that highlights the league office’s current obsession with making Amazon’s package more attractive. That may be the only way to boost the streaming numbers toward a three-letter broadcast audience.

The league knew that the time was coming to pivot to streaming. And $1 billion per year from Amazon goes a long way toward prompting the league to tolerate lower numbers than the package would have gotten on a traditional network.

Still, these numbers help explain why Commissioner Roger Goodell is trying to ram Thursday night flexing through, even though Giants co-owner John Mara has publicly called it “abusive” to fans. And it is.

Hopefully, the league will come up with other ways to boost Amazon viewership. Of maybe the league just needs to accept that it’s going to take plenty of time for non-traditional TV to catch traditional TV. If it ever does.