WNBA Draft Presented by State Farm to Air Live on ESPN, Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m. ET


WNBA Draft Presented by State Farm to Air Live on ESPN, Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m. ET


  • Ryan Ruocco, Rebecca Lobo & Sue Bird in Bristol, Conn.; Holly Rowe Joins Remotely
  • Numerous First Round Draftees Slated to Join Telecast
  • Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant, Payton Chester and Kobe Bryant Honored
  • Encore Presentation of 2019 WNBA Finals Game 5 Follows on ESPN
  • Week-Long, Multi-Platform Coverage begins Monday, April 13

The WNBA Draft Presented by State Farm will air live on ESPN, Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m. ET, as the pinnacle event of ESPN’s week-long, multi-platform league coverage. Leading into the draft, coverage will include WNBA guests on the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, classic programming, multiple features on ESPN.com, social activations and special editions of the Around the Rim podcast.  Immediately following the draft, ESPN will present an encore presentation of the 2019 WNBA Finals Game 5 between the Washington Mystics and the Connecticut Sun.

The 2020 WNBA Draft telecast – originally scheduled to be on-site in New York City – will now originate in-part from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios, with all operations adhering to proper social distancing. Ryan Ruocco will host ESPN’s studio coverage from Bristol with analyst and Hall of Famer Rebecca Lobo and current WNBA star and women’s college basketball analyst Sue Bird. Holly Rowe will join the coverage remotely to contribute storytelling and insider information from her time covering women’s college basketball and the WNBA.

The WNBA Draft will be conducted virtually with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announcing the picks from a remote location. In coordination with the WNBA, numerous first-round picks are slated join the ESPN telecast via remote set-ups. The entire WNBA Draft will last three rounds and is expected to take approximately two hours.

During the draft, the WNBA will honor Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester – who tragically passed away in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26. The WNBA also plans to honor the late Kobe Bryant, a passionate advocate of the league, at the draft and during the upcoming season.

ESPN.com Covers Every Angle
The night of the draft, ESPN.com will have multiple immediate reaction pieces that include:

  • WNBA DraftCast: Round-by-round picks, WNBA Draft prospect rankings, player position rankings, team-by-team needs and pre-draft and post pick analysis on every player.
  • WNBA Draft Grades: Which teams were the winners and losers of the draft? With all three rounds in the books, each team’s draft class will be assigned a grade.
  • WNBA Social Reactions: We round up the best posts on Twitter and Instagram beginning shortly after the first pick.

Throughout the week leading into the WNBA Draft, ESPN.com will have a full offering of content with coverage from every angle. Highlights include:

  • WNBA Mock Draft: ESPN’s latest mock draft, posted on Wednesday, April 8, can be found ESPN.com plans at least one additional mock draft.
  • Who is the Best All-Time No. 1 Draft Pick?: From  inaugural No. 1 pick Tina Thompson in 1997 to Jackie Young going first in 2019, we rank all the former top picks in order. Mechelle Voepel reports.
  • Position U: Which schools have produced the most WNBA point guards? We go position-by-position, examining which colleges have made the biggest impact at each area on the court. Mechelle Voepel reports.
  • Sabrina Ionescu By the Numbers: Taking a deep dive into the data, we put one of the greatest careers in NCAA history in perspective. Graham Hays reports.
  • Draft Needs: Team-by-team look at what each franchise is trying to accomplish on draft night. Mechelle Voepel reports.
  • How Will Ionescu’s game translate to the pros?: An analytic look by Kevin Pelton.

Classic WNBA Programming
On Thursday, April 16, a four-game slate of classic WNBA playoff games will be featured on ESPN2 beginning at 6 p.m. Immediately following the draft on Friday, April 17, the 2019 WNBA Finals Game 5 between the Washington Mystics and the Connecticut Sun will air at 9 p.m., on ESPN.

Date Time Game Network
Thu, April 16 6 p.m. 2016 WNBA Finals Game One
LA Sparks vs. Minnesota Lynx
  8 p.m. 2018 WNBA Semifinals Game Five
Phoenix Mercury vs. Seattle Storm
  10 p.m. 2018 WNBA Playoffs Round Two
Phoenix Mercury vs. Connecticut Sun
  Midnight 2016 WNBA Finals Game Five
LA Sparks vs. Minnesota Lynx
Fri, April 17 9 p.m. 2019 WNBA Finals Game 5
Connecticut Sun vs. Washington Mystics 

ESPN Audio and ESPN Social Content

In addition to television and digital coverage, ESPN Audio and the ESPN social handles will also provide unique access throughout the week.

  • Daily Draft Check-In with Holly Rowe: College Basketball and WNBA sideline reporter Holly Rowe began her “12 Days to the Draft” daily check-in on Sunday, April 5, on Twitter, during which she chats with draft picks, in no particular order. Interviews include: Bella Alarie, Te’a Cooper, Lauren Cox, Crystal Dangerfield, Kiah Gillespie, Tyasha Harris, Sabirina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, Satou Sabally and Megan Walker.
  • Around the Rim Podcast: Around the Rim is espnW’s women’s basketball podcast hosted by women’s basketball analyst LaChina Robinson and producer Terrika Foster-Brasby. Around the Rim offers the best conversations and stories in the realm of women’s basketball, including adding a new segment, “Fast Break,” featuring some of the biggest names of the draft including: Ruthy Hebard, Bella Alarie, Chennedy Carter and many more. Around the Rim has also expanded its visual presence on social media to include two-minute video segments highlighting these fun and interesting conversations to help the audience get to know some of the league’s brightest stars. During the WNBA draft, expect to see Around the Rim active on Twitter @AroundTheRimPod with special interviews, updates, and video content to keep the fans engaged and excited for the new season!


Kimberly Elchlepp at [email protected] or 860-424-2923; @kimelchlepp

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