2009 WNBA Season Tips Off June 6

- 2009 WNBA Season Marks First Year of New Eight-Year Deal with ESPN -
- "WNBA Tuesdays" Return on ESPN2 to Highlight National Broadcasts -

NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 2008 - The Women's National Basketball Association will tip off its 13th season on Sat., June 6 with a full slate of games on opening day. The WNBA season will begin when Candace Parker, Lisa Leslie and the Los Angeles Sparks host Katie Smith and the defending champion Detroit Shock at 2:30 p.m. ET on ABC. The San Antonio Silver Stars, owners of the best record in the league a season ago, will open the season by traveling to Phoenix to face the Mercury (10 p.m. ET).

The 2009 WNBA season will mark the first year of a new eight-year deal that allows ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 to televise games through the 2016 season. The agreement, officially announced in July 2007, will see the league receive a rights fee, a first for a U.S. professional women's team sports league. It also extends the WNBA's relationship with ESPN, which began with the league's inaugural season in 1997, to 20 seasons.

For the fourth consecutive year, ESPN2 will feature "WNBA Tuesdays" as the appointment viewing destination for WNBA fans. With games available in high definition, ESPN2 will televise "WNBA Tuesdays" throughout the 2009 regular season, beginning June 9 as Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm take on Tamika Catchings and the Indiana Fever. ESPN2 will also air two weekend games in 2009, including a rematch of last year's WNBA Finals on Aug. 29 as the Silver Stars host the Shock and a Western Conference showdown on Sept. 13 as the Mercury host the Sparks to close out the regular season. The WNBA concluded last season with a 19% increase in TV ratings and viewership.

TEAM-BY-TEAM SCHEDULES

Combined WNBA coverage on ABC, ESPN2 and NBA TV, the league's 24-hour television network, will broadcast 70 regular season contests.

Other key television matchups throughout the regular season include:

  • Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and the Phoenix Mercury going toe-to-toe with Becky Hammon, Sophia Young and the San Antonio Silver Stars on June 23 (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m. ET)
  • The Sacramento Monarchs hosting the Seattle Storm in a notable Western Conference game on July 9 (ESPN2, 9:00 p.m. ET)
  • Lindsay Whalen and the Connecticut Sun hosting the Sparks on July 14 (ESPN2, 7:00 p.m. ET)
  • Taurasi's return to Connecticut as the Sun host the Mercury on July 28 (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m. ET)
  • The Chicago Sky traveling to Los Angeles to face the Sparks on Aug. 25 (ESPN2, 10 p.m. ET), a contest that will feature two of the top rookies from a year ago, Sylvia Fowles of the Sky and Candace Parker of the Sparks.

The 2009 WNBA regular season runs from Sat., June 6 to Sun., Sept. 13, with the playoffs scheduled to begin on Wed., Sept. 16. Click here to see the complete 2009 regular season and game broadcast schedules.