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After being in the hot seat in 2021 due to the lack of equipment and poor marketing for the women’s March Madness tournament, the NCAA announced there will be several enhancements that improve both the player and fan experience.

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The NCAA already expanded the tourney to 68 teams and it's also now referring to the tournament as March Madness — in the past, only the men's tournament was referred to as March Madness in branding. The NCAA also noted that the women’s side is seeing significantly more investment, but did not give a specific number.

Additionally, officials in both tournaments will be paid equally, which has not happened in the past. The NCAA also added fan events at the Women’s Final Four that will be expanded to be more similar to the men, including an open practice the day before the championship game. This all comes after the 2021 tournament had the most viewers since 2014, with 4 million people tuning in to the 2021 women’s final. With the increased marketing and new branding, this number is likely to increase.

Starting in the regional rounds, which are played at neutral sites after earlier rounds are hosted by higher seeds, there will be “March Madness” logos on the courts instead of “Women’s Basketball.” The women will also receive the same gifts the men get.

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These changes all came about in light of Oregon’s Sedona Prince sharing her experience on social media following last year’s tourney. This caused a national uproar and further highlighted the disparity in men’s and women’s sports.

“Making those changes is incredible and I hope it continues to be that way, and not just from a massive scandal, and a player exposing them on a national stage,” Prince told the Associated Press.

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