Tuesday October 3, 2023

WNBA Enters Playoffs With Wave Of Continued Growth

  • League completes regular season with broad set of increases
  • Wave of growth extends long-term trajectory, both within WNBA and across women's sports
A close up of a WNBA basketball
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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October 3, 2023 | Podcast
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The WNBA enters its 2023 playoffs on Wednesday with the momentum of another season that has dynamically boosted its own growth trajectory and that of women’s sports.

Extending a trend over the past several years, the league ended the regular season up 16% in attendance with a per-game average of 6,615 — the WNBA’s highest figure since 2018. With the league’s newly expanded schedule seeing teams play 40 games each, up from 36, total attendance also rose to 1.59 million, the highest total in 13 years.

The defending league champion Las Vegas Aces led the league with a per-game average of 9,551, up by 66% and buttressed by a franchise-record turnout of 17,406 for a game played Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, instead of their Michelob Ultra Arena.

The league reached 36 million total unique viewers across its national TV partners, up 27% from a year ago and its highest total since 2008. The combined per-game viewership average of 505,000 on ABC, ESPN, and CBS improved 8% from last year. Social media consumption nearly doubled to 373 million views.

The impressive totals extend a multiyear run of growth for the league that most recently has also driven new business for the New York Liberty and mirrors the historic levels of growth seen in both domestic and international women’s soccer, as well as in tennis and ice hockey.

Similar to changes introduced last year, a playoff pool of up to $500,000 will give WNBA players the opportunity to earn up to an additional $20,825 each.

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