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Candace Parker Wants Smarter WNBA Broadcast Times

  • Parker doesn’t want to see WNBA broadcasts “in competition with huge NHL playoff games.”
  • The two-time MVP thinks late night tip-offs hinder the WNBA’s visibility and its "chance to succeed."
Late-game start times and conflicts with other sports hinder the WNBA's visibility, says the two-time MVP.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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This WNBA season’s opening night viewership on ESPN platforms was up 103% over last year, but two-time MVP Candace Parker thinks the league needs to do a better job of avoiding conflict with other sports on TV.

“I think just in terms of continuing to raise visibility and making sure that our games aren’t in competition with huge NHL playoff games, or even putting one of the biggest [NCAA] games in South Carolina and LSU on the same day as the Super Bowl. There’s some stuff that I wish we would make it make sense,” Parker said after FOS asked her about what she’d like to see changed in the WNBA.

The Las Vegas Aces forward referred to the LSU-South Carolina matchup on Feb. 12, which drew 1.5 million average viewers on ESPN as the most-watched regular season women’s college basketball game since 2010. The game’s 2 p.m. ET tipoff had it run into Fox’s pregame coverage of Super Bowl LVII. And to Parker’s point, last year’s WNBA Finals on ABC went head-to-head with broadcast times of Week 1 of the NFL regular season. 

“Visibility is a huge part of eyeballs being on the games, and sometimes if it’s at nine o’clock Pacific Time, I don’t know how many eyeballs are gonna be up watching it in the East Coast. I think that’s a huge point that I would love changed, is giving it a chance to succeed,” said Parker, who has a broadcasting gig with TNT.

ESPN has not released WNBA viewership data since this season’s opening weekend, marking Brittney Griner’s return and the most-viewed WNBA game on cable in 24 years. Last season’s WNBA broadcasts averaged 372,000 viewers per game, the most since 2008. April’s WNBA Draft on ESPN was the league’s most-viewed draft since 2004.

Parker, now in her 16th WNBA season, recently partnered with Muscle Milk to build an outdoor fitness court in Los Angeles, Atlanta, or Orlando. The selected city will be determined by a fan vote.

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