Opening week attendance for the WNBA is up 24% compared to last year’s opening week, the league announced Friday.
The jump in fan attendance comes alongside record-breaking WNBA TV ratings as the opening night game on May 19 between the Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury generated 683,000 average viewers on ESPN with 1 million peak viewers—making it the most-viewed WNBA regular season game on cable in 24 years.
ABC’s May 20 telecast between the Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm averaged 589,000 viewers to be the most-viewed WNBA opening weekend game on all networks in 11 years. The WNBA’s opening weekend also drew a record 30 million video views for the league’s social media accounts.
The Aces and New York Liberty, two teams driving the new ‘superteam era’ of the WNBA, had surged in ticket sales for this season, according to The Athletic. The Liberty had a 200% increase in season ticket memberships, while Aces season ticket sales jumped from 4,000 to 5,500 this year.
NFL legend Tom Brady acquired a minority stake in the Aces in March. The organization won last year’s WNBA title with a roster led by star guard Kelsey Plum and two-time MVP A’ja Wilson before signing fellow two-time MVP Candace Parker in the offseason. A trio of star players signed with the Liberty this past offseason—Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot, and Jonquel Jones—joining a lineup that already includes 2022 All-Star Sabrina Ionescu.
“Super teams are helpful from a marketing perspective,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert told Front Office Sports. “The super teams certainly draw an interesting narrative. It helps build rivalries and build household names of those players that’s gonna help the entire league.”