Sooner softball championship series-clinching final with Texas most watched WCWS game ever

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma softball topped off a record-setting season with the biggest prize of all, an unprecedented fourth consecutive national championship,

It not only was their fourth straight national title but also their sixth in the last eight years the WCWS has been held. Think about this for a moment. Oklahoma had no national championships in softball going into the new millennium. They had only been to the WCWS four times and had never made it to the championship final

Heck, before Patty Gasso arrived in Norman in 1995, the Sooners had made only one NCAA Tournament appearance. They've been to every one since, and if you're counting, that's 30 consecutive NCAA postseason appearances. During that 30-year NCAA Tournament run, the Sooners have won eight national championships (2000, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024) and finished as the WCWS runner-up on two other occasions (2012 and 2019).

Suffice it to say, Oklahoma has been the most dominant softball team of the 21st century so far. As a result, to softball fans outside of the state of Oklahoma -- and to some within the state as well, I'm sure -- the Sooners have taken on a reputation like the historic New York Yankees in baseball and the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots as a team many love to hate because of their seemingly endless championship ways.

People may love 'em or hate 'em, but they certainly flock to the stadium and turn on the television to watch them in action. Barry Switzer this week called softball the second most popular sport at a university where football is and always will be king. And those of us who have closely followed Sooner softball the past 20-plus years know exactly of what the popular former Oklahoma head coach speaks.

The Sooners may indeed have a few haters out there, but one thing we do know for sure is a record TV viewing audience tuned in to watch the deciding game at the WCWS between the two Red River rivals. The WCWS game on Thursday night between Oklahoma and Texas averaged two million viewers with a peak of 2.5 million, an increase of three percent over the previous high, recorded in 2015 in a championship series between Florida and Michigan.

Viewership of this year's championship series represented a 24 percent increase over the 2023 finals featuring these same Sooners against Florida State. The Oklahoma-Texas 2024championship series were also the second and third most streamed softball games on ESPN+.