WNBA has most-watched regular season in 21 years; highest average attendance since 2018

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FILE - New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart (30) shoots against Seattle Storm guards Jewell Loyd (24) and Sami Whitcomb (32) during the second half of a WNBA basketball game, Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in Seattle. finished the regular season second in the league in scoring, averaging a career-best 23 points a game. She helped New York secure the second best record in the league and Tuesday, Sept. 12, became the first player to repeat as The Associated Press WNBA Player of the Year. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

NEW YORK – The WNBA once again had strong metrics as the league had its most-watched regular season in 21 years and its highest average attendance since 2018.

Viewership was up 21% over last year across its national television partners and the league's average attendance of 6,615 fans was the WNBA's highest since the 2018 season. An expanded schedule to 40 games this season helped the league gain its highest total attendance in 13 years (1,587,488).

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“The significant rise in key business metrics is a testament to the captivating games being played and the WNBA’s expanding appeal," said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. "This surge in interest not only showcases the immense talent and athleticism on the court but also highlights the compelling narratives that continue to emerge about the players and the league.”

The defending champion Aces had the highest average attendance increase, with a league-high 9,551 fans per game — up 66% from last season. Las Vegas also hosted the highest-attended game this season, drawing a crowd of 17,406 on Sunday against Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury on the final day of the regular season. That game was played at the bigger T-Mobile Arena as opposed to the Aces regular venue, which seats about 12,000.

“It helps when you win championships,” Aces president Nikki Fargas said in a phone interview. “But also what you're seeing is that the community respects the work that these women do every day. It's fun, it's entertaining, it's safe, it's inclusive.”

The league also set new highs across its digital platforms, social media engagement and sports betting on the website FanDuel. The number of bets and amount wagered doubled from last year.

The WNBA media rights deal with ESPN is up in 2025.


AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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