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WNBA TV ratings, attendance reach new heights through first month of season

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The WNBA ended its first month of the new season in quite a position. 

The league posted record television and attendance numbers for the month of May, the W announced on Monday afternoon. 

Roughly 400,000 fans attended games across the WNBA during May making the largest attendance in 26 years for the opening month of a season and the league boasted that more than half of all WNBA games had been sellouts, which was a 156% increase from the prior year. 

WNBA arenas across the league also found themselves being filled an average of 94% capacity. 

Caitlin Clark signs autographs prior to her game against the New York Liberty. Michelle Farsi/New York Post
Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the New York Liberty greets fans prior to their game against the Indiana Fever during a Commissioner's Cup matchup at Barclays Center.
Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the New York Liberty greets fans prior to their game against the Indiana Fever during a Commissioner’s Cup matchup at Barclays Center.
Michelle Farsi/New York Post

The booming interest in the WNBA has helped generate new ratings records for the league’s broadcast partners, who have all seen new viewership highs this season. 

WNBA games are averaging 1.32 million viewers across the networks of ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS, which is triple the average of 462,000 last year. 

“What’s happening now in women’s basketball is confirmation of what we’ve always known: The demand is there, and women’s sports is a valuable investment,” Chief Growth Officer Colie Edison said in a statement. “We’re encouraged by growing engagement across all our verticals, especially as we welcome new and diverse audiences into our fandom. The WNBA continues to experience sustained growth as our league embraces this heightened momentum.”

It would be hard not to point to the Caitlin Clark Effect following the release of the May attendance and viewership. 

Much of the discussion has surrounded Clark and the Fever’s first three games of the season all set records for the most-watched WNBA game of all time on the respective networks. 

The May 14 season opener between the Fever and Sun averaged 2.12 million viewers for ESPN 2, on May 18 ABC averaged 1.71 million viewers when the Fever took on the Liberty and on May 20, 1.56 million viewers watched the Sun and Fever go at it again on ESPN. 

In the release, the WNBA also said that it had seen a 335% increase in WNBA League Pass subscriptions. 




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