Tuesday October 3, 2023

Star Power Drives Liberty Ratings, Ticket and Merchandise Sales

  • National TV ratings for Liberty games surged 58% this season over last year.
  • Ticket sales reportedly jumped 100% this season as the Liberty enter the WNBA playoffs as title contenders.
National TV ratings for Liberty games surged 58% this season over last year.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Business metrics for the New York Liberty have surged thanks to the team’s star-studded offseason.

The Liberty finished 32-8 this season as the No. 2 seed entering Wednesday’s WNBA playoffs, narrowly finishing behind the Las Vegas Aces (34-6). New York’s success has led to over 100% growth in overall ticket sales this year, and an over 200% increase in season-ticket memberships, according to The Athletic. Barclays Center saw 2,500 more fan per game than the Liberty’s 2022 season.

New York Liberty (and Brooklyn Nets) owner Joseph Tsai signed 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart and five-time All-Star Courtney Vandersloot this past offseason, and added 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones in a trade with Connecticut. The star trio joined incumbent Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu, whose high profile includes a signature shoe deal with Nike and appearing on the cover of NBA 2K24.

The star power has led to 10 new team partners this year, while Liberty e-commerce sales more than doubled. Through Sept. 3, the Liberty’s national TV ratings are up 58% year-over-year, according to Nielsen data shared with The Athletic. In July, ESPN said its overall midseason WNBA viewership was up 46% over last season.

Stewart, who signed with Puma, and Ionescu are two of just 12 WNBA players ever to have a signature sneaker. The Liberty also drew a 600% increase in engagements across their social media platforms, and Stewart hopes the all-around growth results in more branding opportunities for players.

“I’m happy to hear it, and I care because it’s going to continue to give the Liberty the spotlight and the platform that we deserve,” Stewart told The Athletic. “And hopefully it’s going to continue to trickle down to the players to the point where every player on this team has a sponsorship deal or has a shoe deal. And we can continue to build our brands individually and collectively together.”

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