Lynx-Sparks Championship Thriller – ESPN/ABC’s Fifth Most-Viewed WNBA Playoff Game Ever


Lynx-Sparks Championship Thriller – ESPN/ABC’s Fifth Most-Viewed WNBA Playoff Game Ever

Five-Game Series is Third Most-Viewed in ESPN History

The Minnesota Lynx won their fourth WNBA Championship last night and the ESPN audience (including most of the streaming audience) – an average of 902,000 viewers (P2+) – is the fifth most all time among the 230 WNBA playoff games ESPN/ESPN2/ABC have aired since the league was born in 1997.  The most-watched playoff game is Game 2 of the 1998 WNBA Finals between the Houston Comets and the Phoenix Mercury – an average of 1,371,000 viewers.

In a rematch of last year’s final won by the Los Angeles Sparks that also went to a fifth and decisive game five, the game went down to the final minute before the Lynx triumphed 85-76.

The series averaged 559,000 viewers across ABC (game), ESPN (two games) and ESPN2 (two games), up 15% over last year and is the third-most viewed final series aired on ESPN networks (ESPN has aired the WNBA Finals exclusively since 2003).  The higher two:  2003 – Detroit/L.A., 842,000 viewers, and 2014 – Chicago/Phoenix, 634,000.


Dave Nagle

As I write this on 11-11-21, it's now 35 years for me at ESPN, the only real job I’ve ever had. I joined merely to help with the upcoming America’s Cup in Australia. I was told it would be for three months at all of $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville, Darlington, Indy and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals, Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, my main areas are tennis, UFC, boxing, network-wide ratings (by month/quarter/year), and corporate communications documents, including fact sheets, chronologies, lists and nearly 35 of the Year in Review press releases. UPDATE EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER: Today, November 11, 2022, I am retiring from ESPN -- 36 years to the day I began. As I ride off into the sunset – top down and E Street Radio blaring – I do so with so many wonderful memories, proud of my contributions and a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity. 
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