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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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WNBA And Scripps Team Up For Friday Night TV Package

  • WNBA games to air 15 Friday nights on ION.
  • ‘WNBA Friday Night Spotlight’ games mark first deal for new Scripps Sports.
Cathy Engelbert and Adam Symson
Mike Lawrence/NBAE via Getty Images)

The skyrocketing appeal of women’s sports is underlined by a new agreement announced Thursday.

The WNBA has a multiyear agreement with The E.W. Scripps Company to televise games Friday nights on ION. 

“Access to watch WNBA games is in high demand, and Scripps’ dedicated Friday night lineup of WNBA games on ION will become much-desired appointment viewing for WNBA fans,” said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

The regular-season games will appear in two windows over the 15-week period from May 26-Sept. 8, and there will be both national and regional telecasts. 

The WNBA will be ION’s first sports property.  

Recent record TV ratings for Women’s Final Four illustrate the popularity of women’s sports, noted Brian Lawlor, president of the new Scripps Sports. ION boasts a large audience of female viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 age group.

“We’re starting a big franchise night for the [WNBA],” Lawlor said. “We will have every game. We’ll be able to distribute it on a national basis, but also localize every game — sort of like CBS and Fox do on [NFL] Sunday afternoons.”

MLB Rights On Deck?

Meanwhile, Scripps Sports has positioned itself as a white knight to MLB teams eager to bail out of their contracts with bankrupt Diamond Sports and its Bally Sports RSNs.

“We may be part of a solution in specific markets. Time will tell on that,” Lawlor said.

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