– League Sets Social, Digital and Merchandising Records –
– In Their Final Seasons, Sylvia Fowles First Player to Record 4,000 Rebounds in a Career; Sue Bird Records 1,000 Three-Pointers Made –
– The 2022 WNBA Playoffs Presented by Google Tips Off Wednesday, Aug. 17
Debuting New Playoff Format –
NEW YORK, Aug. 17, 2022 – The WNBA finished the 2022 regular season delivering its most-watched regular season in 14 years. Viewership across its national television partners – ABC, CBS, ESPN, and ESPN2 – was up 16 percent over the 2021 season. The league also set new marks for engagements across social media, digital and merchandise, as well as experienced subscription growth for WNBA League Pass.
Highlights from the season include:
- ON-THE-COURT: The WNBA players and teams continued to perform at the highest level of the game:
- Four players logged seven triple-doubles in the regular season. In the league’s previous 25 seasons, a total of just nine regular-season triple-doubles had been recorded with no more than one in a given season.
- Teams averaged more made three-point field goals (7.7) than in any prior season propelling teams to average 82.3 points per game, the third-highest figure in league history.
- The 2022 No. 1 overall pick Rhyne Howard of the Atlanta Dream became the first rookie to win a Conference Player of the Week honor since Tamika Catchings in 2002.
- Minnesota Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles, in the final game of her illustrious career, became the first player in league history to log 4,000 career rebounds and Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird scored her 1,000th 3-point field goal, joining Diana Taurasi as the only players to reach that plateau in WNBA history.
- New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu became the first WNBA player to eclipse 500 points, 200 rebounds and 200 assists in a single season.
- VIEWERSHIP: Combined viewership for the WNBA across ESPN Networks (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2) and the CBS Television Network was up 16 percent over the 2021 regular season, averaging 379,000 viewers, making it the most-viewed season for the league’s television partners in 14 years.
- Additional season viewership highlights:
- AT&T WNBA 2022 All-Star Game became the most viewed All-Star Game in 6 years, averaging 734,000 viewers, up 53 percent over last year’s event.
- WNBA Draft 2022 presented by State Farm® averaged 403,000 viewers on ESPN, up 20 percent over last year, making it the most watched WNBA Draft since 2004.
- SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT:Across all @WNBA social media handles, the league set records for engagement with 186 million video views (+36% vs 2021).
- WEB TRAFFIC: Traffic to WNBA.com nearly doubled from last year for unique visitors (5.4 million, up 99%), total visits (9.2 million, up 79%), and page views (23.8 million, up 83%).
- WNBA LEAGUE PASS: The league’s out-of-market live game package experienced a 10 percent growth in subscribers this season.
- WNBA COMMISSIONER’S CUP PRESENTED BY COINBASE: The second annual WNBA Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase was held as the Las Vegas Aces defeated the Chicago Sky, 93-83. The in-season competition saw players competing for a prize pool of half-a-million dollars. In addition to the total prize pool, Coinbase provided an additional cryptocurrency bonus of $120,000 for players in the Championship Game. During the competition, $165,000 was awarded to civic engagement charitable organizations identified by the league’s 12 teams.
- SUE BIRD: As a tribute to 13-time WNBA All-Star Sue Bird during her last season, Seattle Storm games account for six of the highest attended games this year. Two of these were the first and last home regular season games that the four-time WNBA champion played in with over 18 thousand fans in attendance at Bird’s last regular season home game on August 7.
- MERCHANDISE: AT&T WNBA All-Star 2022 set an all-time record for merchandise sold at a WNBA All-Star event, with a 50 percent increase over the next-best selling All-Star (Minneapolis 2018).
The 2022 WNBA Playoffs presented by Google tips off on Wednesday, Aug. 17, when the No. 2 seeded Chicago Sky and the reigning Finals MVP Kahleah Copper begin their defense of the WNBA title at home against the seventh seeded New York Liberty and All-Stars Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the eighth seeded Phoenix Mercury and the team’s leading rebounder Brianna Turner taking on the No. 1 seeded Las Vegas Aces and WNBA All-Stars A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET. The first round then continues Thursday, Aug. 18, when the No. 6 seeded Dallas Wings and former Rookie of the Year Allisha Gray travel to Connecticut and 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones to take on the third seeded Sun on ESPNU and NBA TV at 8 p.m. ET, before the No. 5 seeded Washington Mystics and the 2022 WNBA leader in assists Natasha Cloud meet the fourth seeded Seattle Storm and the league’s leader in scoring Breanna Stewart on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. ET.
The WNBA Playoffs will feature a maximum of 27 games, all available across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, the ESPN App and NBA TV. The first round will be the best-of-three, while the semifinals and Finals will be best-of-five series.
The league headed into the 26th season by announcing its $75 million capital raise to fuel investment in the long-term transformation of the league. It then followed up the news by announcing prior to the start of the season that U.S. Bank would become the newest member of the WNBA Changemakers, the league’s collective of purpose-driven companies that harness their power to elevate women in sports and support the league’s mission around advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. U.S. Bank joined the league’s growing lineup of WNBA Changemakers, which include AT&T, Deloitte, Nike, and Google.
The WNBA capped off the season by announcing that WNBA League Pass, the league’s out-of-market regular season live game package that also features highlights and off-the-court content from the 2022 season as well as every archived game since the 2015 season, would now be available through Roku.
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