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The excitement in women's NCAA basketball has created a demand for tickets


Both semifinal games of the NCAA women's basketball tournament are today. The tournament has broken viewership records, largely due to one superstar, described this way on ESPN.


RYAN RUOCCO: Galactic greatness from Caitlin Clark on display yet again.


Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Clark in person have to travel to Cleveland to see her.

MARTIN: But you might want to check your budget first. The average price of a ticket for the semifinals is a little more than $2,000. That's around twice as much as tickets for the men's side. So what's going on here?

FADEL: Chris Leyden is with the ticket platform SeatGeek. He says the venue is partly to blame.

CHRIS LEYDEN: So many people want to be to these games, and there's just not enough seats in the stadium. And that's why the demand gets so high, right? You've got all that demand, and then, you know, there's only so many people that can actually be in the venue.

FADEL: It sounds like someone's underestimating women.

MARTIN: Think so.

FADEL: Another reason is the so-called Clark effect.

LEYDEN: The sort of chance to see a generational player, once-in-maybe-a-lifetime talent - that gets anybody interested.

MARTIN: Today could be her last game with Iowa. When this tournament is over, she is headed to the WNBA draft. Jadrian Wooten teaches economics at Virginia Tech. He says this year's tournament attracted a lot of attention.

JADRIAN WOOTEN: For, you know, a team like Iowa, LSU, South Carolina, they're doing a really good job of selling their story, of their players, of their progress, of their program.

FADEL: Wooten says this increase in prices should inspire colleges to invest more in women's sports.

WOOTEN: They can't just hope to sort of ride this wave of popularity. They need to actually be part of the progress of pushing it. It's getting students into the stands. As more people watch it, more people tune in the next time, more money comes in, and so more people tune in the next time.

MARTIN: Earlier this year, ESPN signed a $920 million deal with the NCAA for exclusive rights to dozens of sports, including the Women's March Madness tournament.

WOOTEN: It's super exciting to think, you know, what that's going to be like eight years from now when that deal comes around and how much more money can be put back into women's sports.

FADEL: And we've got three more exciting games. The winners of today's games will play in the final on Sunday.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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