– The WNBA publishes the most watched regular season in 21 years –
– WNBA has highest total attendance in 13 years –
NEW YORK, September 13, 2023 – This year the WNBA had its most watched regular season in 21 years. Viewership on its national television partners (ABC, CBS, ESPN and ESPN2) increased 21 percent during the 2022 season. The league also set new highs on WNBA digital platforms, social media engagement and betting sports.
The 2023 WNBA Playoffs presented by Google begin tonight as three-time WNBA All-Star Napheesa Collier and the sixth-seeded Minnesota Lynx visit 2023 league assists leader Alyssa Thomas, already the third-seeded Connecticut Sun (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2), in a row. by two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player A’ja Wilson and the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces, who host 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper and the eighth seed series, Chicago Sky (10 p.m. ET, ESPN). The first round continues with an ESPN2 doubleheader on Friday, September 15, when two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne and the seventh-seeded Washington Mystics visit two-time WNBA MVP the WNBA Finals, Breanna Stewart, and the second seed, New York Liberty (7). :30 pm ET), and three-time WNBA All-Star Arike Ogunbowale and the fourth-seeded Dallas Wings host 2022 WNBA Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard and the fifth-seeded Atlanta Dream ( 9:30 pm ET).
Season highlights include:
- AUDIENCE: Combined WNBA viewership on ESPN Networks (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2) and CBS Television Network increased 21 percent during the 2022 regular season. Viewership on ABC, ESPN and CBS increased eight percent over the season passed and averaged 505,000 viewers.
- Additional audience highlights from the season:
- The WNBA on ABC averaged 627,000 viewers, making it the most-watched regular season on ABC in 11 years.
- The 2023 WNBA regular season reached a total of more than 36 million unique viewers across all national networks, the highest number since 2008 and a 27 percent increase from 2022.
- The 2023 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game broadcast on ABC was the most-watched WNBA All-Star Game in 16 years, averaging 850,000 viewers and peaking at 955,000 viewers.
- 2023 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm® averaged 572,000 viewers on ESPN, up 42 percent from last year and the most-watched WNBA Draft since 2004.
- The WNBA also introduced appointment viewing this season with Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video, WNBA Friday Night Spotlight with new streaming partner ION and weekend packages with Disney/ESPN Networks, CBS and CBS Sports Network.
- Regular season games on ION were consumed for a total of 14 million hours.
- ATTENDANCE: WNBA attendance is up 16 percent for the 2023 season compared to last year. The average attendance of 6,615 fans per game was the highest since 2018.
- The WNBA had its highest total attendance in 13 years (1,587,488).
- The 2022 WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces posted the largest increase in average attendance (up more than 66 percent year-over-year), averaging a league-high 9,551 fans per game. The Aces also hosted the highest-attended game this season, drawing 17,406 against the Phoenix Mercury on September 10 on the final day of the regular season.
- Mercury All-Star Brittney Griner’s first home game in her return to the WNBA, against the Chicago Sky on May 21, drew 14,040 fans, the third-largest number for a WNBA game this season.
- The first WNBA Canada presented by Tangerine game, in which the Sky defeated the Minnesota Lynx 82-74 in a preseason game, was played before a sold-out crowd of approximately 20,000 fans at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on May 13 .
- COMMITMENT ON SOCIAL NETWORKS: Across @WNBA social media, the league generated a record 373 million video views this season, up 96 percent from the 2022 season. The 20 million total shares/engagements and 1.1 million hours viewed they increased 65 percent and 42 percent, respectively, from last season.
- WNBA DIGITAL PLATFORMS: The relaunched app with exclusive series, behind-the-scenes content, and league and game coverage increased downloads by nearly 400 percent. The league’s out-of-market live game package saw 10 percent growth in subscribers this season. The season-opening game between the New York Liberty and Washington Mystics on May 13 had the largest viewership in WNBA League Pass history, up 107 percent from the previous record-breaking game on the platform. Content consumption increased across digital channels: League Pass total views for the season increased 257 percent and the website saw a 21 percent increase in average time spent per visit during the regular season.
- SPORTS BETS: At FanDuel Sportsbook, the number of bets on the WNBA doubled from last season. Individual bets on the market increased more than 163 percent year over year, and WNBA participation increased more than 100 percent.
- The WNBA launched the WNBABet tab, featuring content from many of the league’s partners, including FanDuel, ESPN, The Action Network, Rotowire and the American Gaming Association.
- AT&T WNBA ALL-STAR: In addition to being the most-watched WNBA All-Star Game since 2007, the 2023 AT&T WNBA All-Star in Las Vegas achieved significant growth across the board.
- The event set a record for WNBA All-Star merchandise sold, a 107 percent increase over last year’s record sales in Chicago. With an all-time high of 16 licensees across six on-site locations, sales are up 658 percent compared to the last time the WNBA All-Star was held in Las Vegas (2021).
- WNBA All-Star saw a 33 percent increase in fan voting, along with a 100 percent growth in the number of partners activating and a 70 percent increase in merchandise sales at the festival. WNBA Live fans presented by US Bank.
- WNBA COMMISSIONER’S CUP PRESENTED BY COINBASE: The 2023 WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game presented by Coinbase drew the largest viewership for a WNBA game on Prime Video, nearly doubling the viewership of last year’s Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game. In the seasonal competition, teams competed for a prize pool of more than $500,000. As part of the prize pool, Coinbase provided a $120,000 cryptocurrency bonus for players in the Championship Game.
- COMMUNITY IMPACT: The 2023 WNBA season was dedicated to advocating for women’s health, with a focus on Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ communities. Throughout the season, teams, players and the league highlighted four key pillars of women’s health: maternal health, mental health, reproductive health and cancer awareness and education. Through the 2023 WNBA Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase, each WNBA team chose a local women’s health organization to play in, with $200,000 donated to local and national nonprofits committed to raising awareness about these important issues equity in women’s health.
- IN THE COURT: WNBA players and teams continued to perform at the highest level of the game:
- Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm set a WNBA single-season record with 939 points.
- Breanna Stewart of the New York Liberty had a WNBA-record six games of at least 40 points. In total, WNBA players produced a record 13 40-point games, 10 more than the previous record of three.
- The Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas recorded a record six triple-doubles and broke the single-season record for total assists (316).
- The WNBA recorded a record 13 triple-doubles, six more than in 2022 (seven) and four more than in the league’s first 25 regular seasons combined (nine).
- Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi became the first player in WNBA history to score 10,000 career points.
- A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces became the fastest player to reach 3,500 points, 1,500 rebounds and 300 blocks.
- New York’s Sabrina Ionescu set records for regular-season three-pointers made (128) and points scored in a single STARRY round® WNBA 3-point contest (37).
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