TV Ratings Are Up for the WNBA, but Fan Attendance Is Still Lacking

In April, the WNBA announced a multi-year partnership with CBS Sports Network. In addition to the league’s existing deal with ESPN, 40 live primetime and weekend games will be televised by CBS Sports during the 2019 season, a collaboration that has successfully made the league more visible to fans around the world.

“Through our partnership with CBS Sports Network, the WNBA is joining an elite lineup of premium sports programming,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in April. “We thank CBS Sports for making such a meaningful commitment to women’s basketball and for providing another platform to showcase the world-class athletes of the WNBA.”

The result? A 64 percent rise in TV ratings from last year, with the average viewership per game standing at 413,000 fans. This is big for the WNBA and women’s sports as a whole, as the CBS deal continues to offer more exposure while generating even greater interest than the previous season. This has occurred despite the absence of big-name stars like the Minnesota Lynx’s Maya Moore and the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart, who will not play at all this season.

Still in the midst of it all, the league still has one big problem: fan attendance at games, a notable issue over the past several years.

Last season, live game attendance dropped 12 percent despite a notable increase in ESPN viewership and WNBA League Pass subscriptions. This year, the Mercury and the Sparks are the only two WNBA teams averaging more than 10,000 fans per game, with average attendance falling to a meager 7,716 fans per matchup.

This is indeed problematic because the WNBA houses some of the best athletes in the world, regardless of gender. The solution lies within sports fans like you and me who have a responsibility to advocate for the WNBA and its unparalleled talent because, at the end of the day, our support could very well play a role in the league’s survival.

Be sure to support your local WNBA team by purchasing tickets or catching a live game broadcast. Visit WNBA.com for additional information.

Image Source: Chicago Tribune

5 responses to “TV Ratings Are Up for the WNBA, but Fan Attendance Is Still Lacking

  1. This is a false narrative ratings as of Aug 20 2019 are not up last check they are around 190k. I say around because the last Known number this year was 198k. The last televised game ratings was too low rate a rating number on the ShowbuzzDaily Top 150. I know this article was written super early into the season a few games. Just seems like there was a rush to write a feel good article.

    WNBA ratings this year will be close to the record low 2017 season

  2. It is not my “responsibility” to watch the NBA, wnba, or any other to show with paid entertainers. Please stop trying to convince the world otherwise, it diminishes true responsibilities like supporting teachers, police officers, eliminating poverty, etc.

  3. “The solution lies within sports fans like you and me who have a responsibility to advocate for the WNBA and its unparalleled talent because, at the end of the day, our support could very well play a role in the league’s survival.”

    If the experience provides entertainment, the support will be there. It is not one’s civic duty to see the WNBA succeed simply because the players are women.

  4. The WNBA is an inferior product. Attendance is up because of the larger TV deal, brokered by the NBA, and attendance continues to decline because money spent on tickets doesn’t lie. Activism is patronizing the WNBA players and the audience with this garbage league.

    If the WNBA players were that good, then they would be in the NBA.

    1. WNBA players can’t be in the NBA dummy and there are many players in that league, that are better than the bench-warmers in the NBA. I can guarantee you that these girls would whoop you in this sport.

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