Disney Networks Score a Season of Viewership Ws with Expanded WNBA Coverage in 2022
Together, ESPN and ABC televised 49 games from Tip-Off week through the conclusion of the WNBA Finals on Sunday as ESPN continued its 26-year relationship with the WNBA, dating back to the inaugural season in 1997.
“The 2022 WNBA Season on Disney Networks was a year of monumental growth – and we feel it is just the beginning,” said Ashley O’Connor, ESPN Senior Director, Programming and Acquisitions. “ESPN will continue to look for even more ways to elevate and showcase the incredible women of the WNBA. We have had a strong relationship with the league since its inception in 1996 and look forward to collaborating together for many years to come.”
As the exclusive home of the WNBA postseason, Disney Networks televised 49 games as part of the league’s new expanded playoff format with the Las Vegas Aces securing the franchise’s first championship, defeating the Connecticut Sun in the best-of-five series. After 23 games, the 2022 postseason averaged 456,000 viewers – up 22 percent over 2021’s postseason – making it the most-viewed WNBA postseason since 2007.
WNBA on ESPN Viewership Milestones in 2022:
- Full 2022 Season (Regular + Post): most-viewed since 2006, averaging 412,000 viewers (49 games), up 22 percent form 2021.
- Semifinals: Most-viewed semifinal round since 2014, averaging 488,000 viewers (nine games), up 45 percent from 2021.
- First Round: Most viewed opening round since 2007, up 50 percent from the first and second rounds last year, averaging 392,000 over 10 games.
- Regular Season: Most-viewed regular season since 2008. The WNBA on ESPN Presented by Google season (25 games across Disney networks) averaged 372,000 viewers, a 20 percent spike versus 2021. The Aces-Storm regular season finale on ABC averaged 835,000 – the most-viewed WNBA game across all networks since May 17, 2008.
- All-Star Game: Most-viewed All-Star Game since 2015. The 2022 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game on ABC averaged 734,000 viewers, up 53 percent from 2021’s All-Star Game.
- WNBA Draft: Most-viewed WNBA Draft since 2004. The 2022 WNBA Draft Presented by State Farm averaged 403,000 viewers, up 20 percent from 2021.
ESPN Social doubled the number of WNBA-focused social posts across the company’s various accounts in 2022. Those efforts resulted in 1.1 billion impressions, a 20 percent increase over 2021, and more than 193 million total video views, a staggering 90 percent jump from the prior year.