NEW YORK – The WNBA is on record pace for viewership, attendance, digital consumption and merchandise as the league heads into the 2023 AT&T WNBA All-Game in Las Vegas, which will be held at Michelob ULTRA Arena, on Saturday, July 15 and airing on ABC at 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET). As the league enters the midway point of its 27th season, the memorable performance of WNBA players on the court has led to viewership growth across its national television partners – ABC, CBS, ESPN and ESPN2 – and double-digit growth for attendance and digital consumption over last year.
Highlights from the season so far include:
ON THE COURT: WNBA players continue to deliver record performances on the court, which include:
• An explosion of 40-point games by players featuring seven this season through Sunday, July 9, more than twice the previous high of three which was accomplished in three different seasons. (Breanna Stewart 45 and 43; Rhyne Howard 43; DeWanna Bonner, Jewell Loyd and Arike Ogunbowale 41 each and Kelsey Plum 40).
• Howard became the second youngest player (23 years, 64 days) in WNBA history to score 40 or more points in a game, trailing only Candace Parker (40 points on July 9, 2008, at 22 years, 81 days). In the process, Howard also became the youngest WNBA player to record 40 or more points and at least five made three-point shots in a game.
• Aliyah Boston became the eighth rookie selected to start the All-Star Game and the first since 2014 (Chamique Holdsclaw, 1999; Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings, 2002; Maya Moore, 2011; Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner, 2013; and Shoni Schimmel, 2014). She also was named the league’s Rookie of the Month in May and June.
• Breanna Stewart became the fastest player to eclipse 4,000 career points.
• Diana Taurasi, already the only WNBA player to eclipse the 8,000-point and 9,000-point plateaus, is nearing 10,000 career points. Entering the All-Star break, she has 9,914 and needs 86 more to reach 10,000.
VIEWERSHIP: Combined viewership for the WNBA across its national networks (ABC, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2) is up 67 percent over last year, averaging 556,184 viewers. Currently this season is pacing to be the most-watched regular season across the league’s networks in over 20 years (2002). Additional viewership highlights for this season include:
• The Dallas Wings vs. the Los Angeles Sparks game on ABC was the most viewed game this season, averaging 733,000 viewers, on Sunday, June 25.
• The Phoenix Mercury vs. the New York Liberty game on CBS was the most viewed game on CBS, averaging 694,000 viewers, on Sunday, June 18.
• The Las Vegas Aces vs. the Seattle Storm on ABC was the most viewed opening weekend game on any network since 2012 averaging 684,000 viewers on Saturday, May 20.
• The Phoenix Mercury vs. the Los Angeles Sparks game was the most-watched regular season game on cable in 24 years and the most-viewed opening day on ESPN network in 11 years, averaging 683,000 viewers on ESPN, on Friday, May 19.
ATTENDANCE: WNBA attendance is up 27 percent this season through the same number of games compared to last year with more than 787,000 fans attending 2023 regular season games this season. Currently, this season’s attendance is pacing to be the highest average attendance since 2018. Other highlights include:
• The highest attended WNBA game this season marked the return of Britney Griner to Phoenix with 14,040 fans in attendance to see the Mercury take on the Chicago Sky on Sunday, May 21.
• The Seattle Storm retired Sue Bird’s jersey in an emotional ceremony on Sunday, June 11, with 13,213 fans in attendance for its game against the Washington Mystics, marking the third highest attended game this season.
• The first WNBA Canada Game presented by Tangerine, which saw the Chicago Sky defeat the Minnesota Lynx, 82-74, in a preseason game, was played before a sold-out crowd of approximately 20,000 fans at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday, May 13.
RECORD REVENUE: The WNBA has achieved double-digit growth for partnership revenue this year, which is at an all-time 27-year high, season to date.
MERCHANDISE: The league has seen a surge in merchandise sales this season. Overall sales of WNBA merchandise at the NBA Store in New York are up 78 percent versus this season compared to the same time last year. In addition, sales of merchandise at Dick’s Sporting Goods are up 68 percent compared to the same time last season.
WNBA APP: Since the WNBA launched the digital transformation of its app at the start of the season, WNBA App monthly active users have grown 147 percent over last year.
SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT: The WNBA is on a record pace for video views across all its social media platforms with 155 million video views halfway through the season, which is 84 percent of the total video views the league amassed for the entire 2022 regular season (186 million in 2022).
WNBA LEAGUE PASS: The league’s out-of-market live game package has experienced a 19 percent growth in subscriptions so far this season vs. the same point last year.