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WNBA Expands Schedule, Increases Playoff Money

  • The WNBA's schedule will expand to 40 games during the 2023 season.
  • The league will use charter flights for all its league Finals games.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The WNBA isn’t quite ready to expand its number of teams next season, but the league isn’t passing up other opportunities to grow.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced this week that 40 games will be played during the 2023 season, a record for the league. 

  • The 2022 season saw teams play a record 36 games after viewership records were broken during the 2021 season.
  • The league’s current collective bargaining agreement allows no more than 44 per season.

“I’d like to go for 44 at some point when we have a good footprint to do that,” Engelbert said ahead of Sunday’s WNBA’s All-Star Game.

Additionally, Engelbert announced the league will use charter flights for all its league Finals games, as well as increase the bonus-pool money to $500,000 for the playoffs — doubling what each championship winner receives.

Securing the league’s next domestic media rights deal is also “top business priority” for Engelbert. ESPN is paying the WNBA a reported $25 million per year through 2025 for its current package.

“We need to make it easier for fans to watch our games, to know where our games are.”

Expected Expansion

Engelbert hopes to have two more teams in the league by 2024, and no later than 2025.

“Now we have to find the right ownership groups with the right commitment and financial wherewithal to really be committed to standing up a WNBA team in their city.” Engelbert said multiple cities are interested.

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