Announcement Precedes First-Ever Prime-Time WNBA Draft and New Memorial Day Doubleheader
ESPN and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) have extended their agreement six years, through the 2022 season, it was announced today by John Skipper, President of ESPN, Inc. and Co-Chairman of the Disney Media Networks, and Laurel J. Richie, WNBA President. The new agreement, which will lengthen ESPN’s relationship with the WNBA to 26 years, dating back to the WNBA’s inaugural season in 1997, allows for games to be presented on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and WatchESPN.
This announcement is in advance of the first-ever prime-time telecast of the WNBA Draft Presented by State Farm to be held at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios Monday, April 15, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The network’s 2013 WNBA schedule opens with an brand-new ESPN2 Memorial Day doubleheader on Monday, May 27, featuring Washington at Tulsa at 3 p.m., followed by Chicago at Phoenix at 5 p.m. espnW.com will take an in-depth look at the transition from college to the WNBA of ESPN’s season-long campaign focusing on the “3 to See” of Elena Delle Donne (Delaware), Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame) and Brittney Griner (Baylor).
Up to 30 games will be aired yearly on ESPN networks, including exclusive coverage of the WNBA Conference Finals, WNBA Finals, WNBA Draft and WNBA All-Star Game.
ESPN will continue to enhance its production and commitment to the sport through access to WNBA teams, players and coaches, including in-depth interviews and in-game elements such as microphones on players, coaches and referees.
espnW.com will further the network’s dedication with exclusive on-line content. The all-encompassing site will engage fans with storytelling and distinctive elements, continuing the momentum as the home of women’s sports.
“We are thrilled to extend our agreement with the WNBA, a dynamic relationship that will extend over two decades,” said Skipper. “This strengthens ESPN’s commitment to the league and helps solidify us as the home of women’s sports content.”
Richie said, “Our enhanced television agreement reflects ESPN’s extraordinary commitment to women’s sports and to the WNBA. The extension has been a catalyst for the WNBA and ESPN to bring forward fresh thinking ideas to better showcase our players, our game and our league.”
ESPN, Inc., is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of eight U.S. 24-hour television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN 3D and Longhorn Network) and five HD simulcast services (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes). Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (35 networks, syndication, radio, digital), ESPN Radio (broadcast, satellite, digital, a growing category led by ScoreCenter), ESPN.com (plus a variety of sport-, college-, and market-specific sites), ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises and espnW. Multi-screen offerings include WatchESPN (access to several ESPN networks online and via an app), ESPN3 (live multi-screen network available online, on the go and via Xbox LIVE) and ESPN Mobile (mobile Web, mobile TV and video, apps, alerts and messaging). Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
About the WNBA
The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. The league, which counts Boost Mobile as its league-wide marquee partner, will tip off its 17th season in the spring of 2013.
Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.