Sky Leads Way in Growth of WNBA
WNBA attendance increased for the fifth consecutive year and TV viewership on ESPN2 reached its highest level since 2005, as fans responded to one of the most compelling seasons in the league's 15-year history. The WNBA also formed eight new marketing partnerships in 2011 with several leading companies, including a landmark multiyear deal with Boost Mobile that made the company the WNBA's first league wide marquee partner.
The Chicago Sky had the largest gains in attendance of all of the WNBA franchises at 29.0%. Two other teams that had strong gains were the Washington Mystics (+11.7%) and the Minnesota Lynx (+10.8%). Overall, capping five straight seasons of attendance increases, the WNBA 2011 regular season finished up 1.25% over 2010.
The Sky, which set a single game attendance record for its 13,838 fans at Allstate Arena on July 13 vs. Tulsa, also recorded five other nights which were among the top ten most well attended games in Sky history. They were June 10 vs. Connecticut, July 19 vs. Seattle, July 30 vs Los Angeles, August 12 vs. Minnesota and September 4 vs. Indiana.
The WNBA also made gains in television viewership. ESPN2 had its most viewed WNBA regular season since 2005, averaging 270,000 viewers, up 5% over last season (258,000). The viewership for the WNBA All-Star Game on ABC was up 46% vs. the last All-Star on ABC in 2009, and U.S. ratings for the first round of the 2011 WNBA Draft on ESPN was up 47% vs. the first round of 2010 Draft on ESPN2.