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Oklahoma vs. Texas averages 2 million viewers and is the most watched WCWS final of all time

It was a historic night in Oklahoma City on Thursday night. Oklahoma the first fourth consecutive win in NCAA softball history. The Sooners won their fourth consecutive Women's College World Championship Title, victory Texas 8-4 to complete the sweep.

It was also a big night for ESPNwhich attracted a record number of spectators for the final.

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The two games of the championship series averaged 2 million viewers, ESPN said, including an average of 2.2 million viewers for Thursday's game. It became the most-watched finale of all time, including a 3% increase over the previous record set in 2015, when Florida defeated Michigan.

Game 1 of the championship series drew 1.9 million viewers, ESPN said, setting up Game 2, where history was at stake for Oklahoma. The game went directly against the NBA Finale on ABCwhich averaged just under 11 million, according to Sports media monitoring.

It was a rematch of the 2022 WCWS, when Oklahoma defeated rival Texas to secure its second straight title. Now, with four straight wins, the Sooners have achieved success that no other softball team has ever achieved.

For Trainers Patty GassoThis victory put her in the same breath as legends like Geno Auriemma And John Wood to win four consecutive championships as a college coach.

It was a great end to the 2024 softball season for ESPN. The network announced great numbers for the regular season, including a 13% increase in viewership over the previous year on its way to the most watched year since 2015.

How Oklahoma made history with the WCWS victory

Entering the 2024 season, Oklahoma was one of two softball programs in history to win three consecutive titles, along with University of California from 1988 to 1990. But no team had ever managed four wins in a row – and it was not easy for the Sooners to achieve that.

OU entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 2 seed behind Texas, which won the regular season. Rivalry on the Red River for the first time since 2009. The Sooners also had to play an elimination game against Florida on Tuesday, which went into extra time.

But the bat of Jayda Coleman saved the day with a walk-off home run and the left arm of Kelly Maxwell delivered a win in Game 1. But Gasso didn't want to throw them for a third straight game after throwing 267 pitches in two games. That led to a “tag team” approach with five pitchers throwing in Thursday's game, setting a WCWS record.

In the end it was Maxwell – the transfer of State of Oklahoma – who sealed the deal in the sixth inning after a rocky start. Oklahoma officially moved into a league of its own with its fourth straight win, and ESPN capitalized on it.

Anna Harden

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