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WNBA Midseason Viewership Up 46% on ESPN Platforms

  • WNBA broadcasts on ESPN platforms are averaging 546,000 viewers through 13 games.
  • First-half viewership on ABC is up 18% over last year’s games before the All-Star break.
WNBA ratings are up halfway through the season.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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WNBA viewership on ESPN platforms has increased significantly this season compared to last year, averaging 546,000 viewers through 13 games.

The network said on Wednesday that the midseason average is a 46% increase over WNBA viewership on ESPN platforms in 2022. Fellow Disney-owned network ABC has recorded 647,000 average viewers across eight WNBA broadcasts this season, an 18% increase over ABC’s four WNBA broadcasts before the All-Star Game last season. 

The WNBA All-Star Game will be played July 15 at Michelob Ultra Arena, the Las Vegas Aces home. A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Aliyah Boston, and Jackie Young were the top-five fan vote-getters for this year’s All-Star Game, which ABC will televise. The exhibition will happen as NBA Summer League games are held in Las Vegas. 

In May, ESPN announced that its Phoenix Mercury-Los Angeles Sparks season-opening broadcast averaged 683,000 viewers with 1 million peak viewers to rank as the most-watched WNBA regular season game on cable television in 24 years and the most-viewed WNBA opening night game on ESPN platforms in 11 years. April’s WNBA Draft on ESPN was the network’s most-viewed WNBA Draft since 2004.

ESPN’s broadcast deal signed with the WNBA in 2016 pays the league about $25 million per season until 2025, when the deal expires. 

“We get zero [in-broadcast] revenue compared to other leagues, and it’s absolute bull—t,” a WNBA ownership source told FOS before this season. “Now, we are in a place where we have to earn [the next deal].”

All 2022 WNBA broadcasts on ESPN networks averaged 412,000 viewers, 22% more than the 2021 season average and the most since 2006. 

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