WNBA and ESPN Expand Relationship
The agreement extends the WNBA’s relationship with ESPN, which began with the league’s inaugural season in 1997, to 20 seasons.
ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 will televise on an exclusive basis a minimum of 18 regular season games, primarily on Mondays, Tuesdays and weekend afternoons. Each season’s opening game and the WNBA All-Star Game are scheduled to be broadcast exclusively on ABC. A minimum of 11 postseason games will be carried on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, including the exclusive telecast of the WNBA Finals. ESPN or ESPN2 will also have exclusive coverage of the first round of the WNBA Draft each season.
"We are very pleased with ESPN's long-term commitment to the WNBA as well as its commitment to women's sports,” said Orender. “As we are seeing increases in our attendance and sponsorship business this season, this deal is yet another tremendous affirmation of the popularity and caliber of our game, our programming and our players."
In addition, NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour network, will continue to televise games, including 70 regular season games and up to nine Playoff games for the current 2007 season.
Under terms of the new partnership, ESPN will have enhanced digital rights to have the WNBA deliver content for multiple ESPN platforms, including: ABC, ESPN, ESPN.com, and ESPN360.com. ESPN will have the rights to stream its games on a live, delayed and on-demand basis across all of its multimedia platforms, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN.com, ESPN 360 and ESPN Mobile TV.
"ESPN is committed to being the leader in women's sports coverage and is delighted to partner with the WNBA as we continue to help grow women's basketball," said Skipper.
WNBA programming on ESPN Deportes will also be extended until 2016, including live simulcasts of ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 games.