WNBA Season Opens With 14 Sellouts, Increased Ratings, Record Attendance and Web Traffic

NEW YORK, June 3, 2008 -- Record attendance coupled with WNBA.com traffic and double-digit TV ratings growth set the tone for the WNBA's historic 12th season tip-off for the month of May. The league's record 14 sellouts in May underscores the excitement surrounding the 2008 season.

The month was also marked by outstanding performances on-the-court from the most heralded Draft class in league history and by all-stars making their mark with new clubs. Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks led the way with a record-setting, 34-point effort in her WNBA debut while all-stars Swin Cash, Sheryl Swoopes and Yolanda Griffith led the Seattle Storm to a 4-1 start, the best in franchise history.

Additional May highlights include:

WNBA Attendance:
-- The WNBA set a record for total attendance in May - 269,287 vs. the previous high of 216,909 set in 2004. Overall attendance for May increased 42 percent over last season.

-- 14 sold out games is also a record for May (previous high of eight set in 2003). The Los Angeles Sparks, led by rookie sensation Candace Parker, opened the season with four consecutive road sellouts (Phoenix, Atlanta, Indiana and Washington) - a feat never before accomplished by a WNBA team..

-- The WNBA's newest franchise, the Atlanta Dream, debuted by selling out their first two home games (Friday, May 23 vs. the Detroit Shock and Sunday, May 25 vs. the Los Angeles Sparks).

-- Indiana becomes the first team in league history to open the season with 3 consecutive sellouts.

WNBA on TV:
-- Viewership and ratings are experiencing double-digit growth this season

-- WNBA on ESPN2 Viewership (2 games): up 45 percent (266,000 vs. 184,000)

-- WNBA on ESPN2 Ratings (2 games): up 44 percent (0.23 vs. 0.16)

-- ABC's sixth season of WNBA coverage tipped off with a 0.8 ratings with the Los Angeles Sparks-Phoenix Mercury game having, a 60 percent increase over last season's opening broadcast between the Sacramento Monarchs and the Detroit Shock (0.5 rating).

WNBA.com:
-- In May, WNBA.com shattered the all-time monthly records for visits and page views, with nearly 3 million visits and more than 15.5 million page views. The new monthly records represent an increase of 100 percent and nearly 45 percent respectively, when compared to May 07 totals.

-- Candace Parker's player page on WNBA.com received more page views than any NBA player with the exception of the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant for the week of May 18-24.

-- Video usage on WNBA.com continues to soar. With 575,000 video streams in May 08, the site more than doubled video usage totals during May 07.

Merchandise:
-- For the week leading up to the start of the season, WNBA merchandise sales at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue and at WNBAStore.com more than doubled versus the same time last year, led by sales of Parker jerseys.

About the WNBA
Comprised of 14 teams and entering its 12th season, the WNBA is the longest-running and most successful women's professional team sports league in America. Combined coverage on ABC and ESPN2, again providing appointment viewing in the form of its "WNBA Tuesdays," will include 21 national telecasts, while NBA TV, the league's 24-hour television network, will offer 70 regular-season contests.

The WNBA is deeply committed to WNBA CARES programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on promoting health and fitness, heart health awareness, reading and youth basketball programs. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.

More

Video

Through the Lens: Fever vs. Sky Game 2

Check out some of the best highlights from the thrilling, double overtime game between the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky through the eye of our super slow motion phantom camera!

Fowles Leads Sky In Game 2

Sylvia Fowles ended up with 27 points on an impressive 12-14 shooting, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals to help the Chicago Sky tie the Eastern Conference Finals at 1 game apiece versus the Indiana Fever.

Postgame: Chicago Sky

Sky head coach Pokey Chatman and Sylvia Fowles talk postgame following Chicago's double overtime win over the Fever.

Fever vs. Sky - Game 2

Sylvia Fowles scores 27 points and the Chicago Sky beat the Indiana Fever 86-84 in two overtimes to even the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals on Monday.

Postgame: Indiana Fever

Fever head coach Lin Dunn and Tamika Catchings talk postgame after Indiana falls to the Chicago Sky in Game 2 in double overtime.