WNBA ratings highest in decades as crowds swell

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Associated PressSeptember 15, 2023, 02:23 pm ET3 minute read

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Chelsea Gray looks beautiful with Jackie Young for 2

Chelsea Gray throws a great pass inside the paint to Jackie Young for a layup.

NEW YORK – The WNBA once again had strong metrics this year, as the league had its most-watched regular season in 21 years and its highest average attendance since 2018.

Viewership was up 21% from last year across all of its national television partners, and the league’s average attendance of 6,615 fans was the WNBA’s highest since the 2018 season. An expanded schedule to 40 games this season helped the league to its highest total attendance in 13 years with 1,587,488.

“The significant increase in key business metrics is a testament to the captivating games being played and the growing appeal of the WNBA,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “This surge in interest not only showcases the immense talent and athleticism on the court, but also highlights the compelling narratives that continue to emerge about the players and the league.”

The defending champion Las Vegas Aces had the largest average attendance increase, with a league-high 9,551 fans per game, up 66% from last season. Las Vegas also hosted the highest-attended game this season, drawing 17,406 spectators Sunday against Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury on the final day of the regular season. That game was played at the larger T-Mobile Arena, unlike the Aces’ usual venue, which seats about 12,000 people.

“It helps when you win championships,” Aces president Nikki Fargas said. “But also what you’re seeing is that the community respects the work these women do every day. It’s fun, entertaining, safe and inclusive.”

The league also reached new highs across its digital platforms, social media engagement and sports betting. The number of bets and the amount wagered doubled compared to last year.

The WNBA’s media rights deal with ESPN ends in 2025.


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