NEW YORK – The WNBA scored its highest attendance in six years and set records for social media and merchandise during the 2017 regular season.
The WNBA’s 21st season featured many new platforms for fans to engage with games, players and teams. The initiatives to further showcase the game to a global audience included a live 20-game schedule on Twitter, the launch of the league’s first official one-day fantasy game with FanDuel and the first livestream of a basketball game on TIDAL, a global music and entertainment service. In addition, Electronic Arts Inc. announced last month that a full roster of WNBA teams and players will appear in a video game for the first time when NBA LIVE 18 launches this fall.
Highlights from the season include:
- ATTENDANCE: The WNBA registered its highest total attendance (1,574,078) and highest average attendance (7,716) since 2011. The year was highlighted by double-digit attendance growth by the Los Angeles Sparks (+17.8%), Connecticut Sun (+15.3%) and Minnesota Lynx (+12.3%). The Sparks had their highest average attendance (11,350) since 2002, while the Lynx had its highest average attendance (10,407) since its inaugural season in 1999.
- SOCIAL MEDIA: The WNBA reached nearly 14 million likes and followers across all league, team and player social platforms this season, growing by 15% with the addition of two million fans from last season. The WNBA Facebook page achieved 1 million likes this season. In addition, the league broke records with more than 679 million impressions (+59%) and over 140 million video views (+233%) versus last year.
- MERCHANDISE: This regular season saw record sales on WNBAStore.com, an increase of 18% over last year.
- LIVE WNBA GAMES ON TWITTER: During its inaugural season on Twitter, the WNBA averaged 613,000 unique viewers per game. The Mercury vs. the Dallas Wings (5/14), the San Antonio Stars vs. the Wings (5/25) and the Mercury vs. the Lynx (7/14) were the three most-viewed games, averaging 1.1 million unique viewers.
- WNBA FANTASY GAME WITH FANDUEL: FanDuel contests received over 2.2 million total entries in the first season of the WNBA’s one-day fantasy offerings.
The WNBA Playoffs 2017 presented by Verizon will tip off today with two first-round, single-elimination games, starting with the sixth-seeded Mystics hosting the seventh-seeded Wings (8 p.m. ET), followed by fifth-seeded Mercury facing the eight-seeded Storm (10 p.m. ET). ESPN and ESPN2 will air the entire WNBA postseason, culminating with the WNBA Finals 2017 presented by Verizon starting Sept. 24.