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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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The 10 Most Watched WNBA Games of All Time

Jul 6, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) smiles in an interview after becoming the first rookie to have a triple-double during a game against the New York Liberty at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Grace Smith/INDIANAPOLIS STAR-USA TODAY Sports

The WNBA is experiencing a resurgence in popularity it hasn’t seen since its inaugural season. Led by rookie stars Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, record-setting attendance numbers and viewership provide hope for a bright future.

Despite the rise in popularity across television and digital platforms — several of the league’s stars generate millions of social media followers — none of this year’s games make the top 10 of the league’s history. The league’s inaugural season dominates the ranking of most-watched games, primarily due to viewing habits and the excitement surrounding the league’s first season.

Since debuting in 1997, all the most-watched WNBA games came within its first five seasons.

The first WNBA game ever televised still holds the title as the most-watched WNBA game. The Liberty played the Sparks at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California, attracting 5.04 million viewers. 

At the game, 14,284 people gathered to witness history. Penny Toler of the Sparks scored the first basket of the season, but the Liberty won 67-57.

The next day’s game on June 22, 1997 takes second with 3.59 million viewers. The Mercury hosted the Sting in Phoenix at the America West Arena.

Phoenix became the first home team to secure a win, beating Charlotte 76-59.

Third is the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game, which drew a record 3.44 million viewers. That total is more than double the previous mark of 1.44 million, which was set in 2003 when the game took place at Madison Square Garden.

The game attracted such high ratings in part due to the unconventional matchup as a Team WNBA led by non-Olympians took on the U.S. national team.

A star-studded rookie class is paving the way for the WNBA’s plans to surpass viewership records set in its infancy. Despite the promising season so far, the league still faces challenges to posting positive revenue numbers.

Ranking The Most Watched WNBA Games Ever

Here is the list of the top 10 most-watched WNBA games based on reported viewership. The list was compiled using historical data from Sports Media Watch.

  • Updated: July 23, 2024
RankingDateMatchupReported Viewership
1June 21, 1997Liberty at Sparks5.04 million
2June 22, 1997Sting at Mercury3.59 million
3July 20, 2024Team USA vs Team WNBA3.44 million
4September 5, 1999Liberty at Comets3.25 million
5June 14, 1998Sparks at Mercury2.89 million
6August 30, 1997Liberty at Comets2.85 million
7May 29, 2000Liberty at Comets2.74 million
8August 29, 1999Sparks at Comets2.62 million
9June 13, 1998Comets at Liberty2.55 million
10August 9, 1997Sparks at Comets2.53 million
11August 8, 1999Comets at Liberty2.46 million

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