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Friday, June 21, 2024

WNBA Achieves Viewership It Hasn’t Had in Two Decades

  • The WNBA recorded its most-watched playoffs in 20 years.
  • Games had an average of 439,000 viewers.
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The WNBA announced last month that it delivered the most-watched regular season in 14 years, but that’s not this season’s only milestone.

The league recorded its most-watched playoffs in 20 years with an average of 439,000 viewers through 19 games on ESPN.

  • The semifinals, which featured the Seattle Storm against the Las Vegas Aces and the Chicago Sky against the Connecticut Sun, averaged 488,000 viewers — the highest since 2010.
  • The most-watched playoff matchup was Game 3 between the Aces and Storm on ABC, which drew an average 905,000 viewers and peaked at 1.4 million.

The regular season brought a 16% year-over-year viewership increase

The league’s current broadcasting deal with ESPN ends in 2025 and is worth a reported $25 million annually.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the next media deal is “probably the most important business issue” she’s focused on and is “optimistic we’ll get something favorable.” 

The league is expanding to 40 games next season and could announce expansion teams by the end of the year. The list of possible expansion cities has been narrowed down to 10.

Engelbert wants to add two teams no later than 2025.

WNBA Wallets

Betting is becoming more popular in the league, too.

“We had a 270% jump in WNBA bet counts this year,” Engelbert said. “More women are betting, and our fan base skews [toward] women, younger, more digital-native.”

Last week, the league renewed its deal with FanDuel. Engelbert said she “would love to have more betting partners.”

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