WNBA Sets Viewing and Attendance Records to Begin 2024

The WNBA’s expansion continues as the league, which kicked off its 28th season on May 14th, concluded May with its highest-attended opening month in 26 years and its most-watched start of the season. The league has games on the most networks ever: ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, ION, and NBA TV.

Approximately 400,000 fans attended WNBA games through the end of May. More than half of all WNBA games were sellouts, which is a 156% increase from last year.

The league also achieved significant viewership growth among diverse audiences. Viewership among people of color surged by 60% year-over-year, with Black and Latino fans leading the charge, showing increases of 67% and 96%, respectively. Additionally, tip-off week saw a 124% increase in viewers under 35 and a 139% rise in young girls tuning in.

The 2024 rookie class significantly impacted fan engagement from preseason through May. During the first week, four of the five most engaging moments on social media featured highlights from Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark, Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese, Los Angeles Sparks’s Cameron Brink, or Las Vegas Aces’ Kate Martin. WNBA merchandise sales skyrocketed, with a 236% increase year-over-year, and Clark, Reese, and Brink ranked among the top five in jersey sales during the first week of the season.

The growth of diverse audiences has also led to deeper and more frequent engagement across digital platforms. Monthly active users on the WNBA App have increased by 613% year-over-year, and League Pass subscriptions more than tripled in the first two weeks of the season, with the highest average minutes watched in league history.

The league released the following metrics:

  • WNBA arenas were filled to a 94% capacity, up 17% from last year.
  • Across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS, WNBA games are averaging 1.32 million viewers, nearly tripling last season’s average (462,000 viewers). Additional individual network highlights include:
  •  ESPN2: The opening night matchup featuring the Indiana Fever vs. the Connecticut Sun (May 14) averaged 2.12 million viewers across ESPN2, ESPN+ and Disney+, peaking at 2.34 million viewers, making it the most-watched WNBA game on Disney platforms ever.
  • ABC: The Indiana Fever vs. the New York Liberty (May 18) on ABC averaged 1.71 million viewers, making it the most-viewed WNBA game on ABC ever and the second-most-viewed game across Disney networks ever (behind only this year’s Opening Night matchup featuring the Indiana Fever vs. the Connecticut Sun on ESPN2).
  • WNBA Countdown on ABC and ESPN2 has averaged 741,000 viewers, up +211% vs. last year’s full season Countdown average across ABC/ESPN/ESPN2.
  • ESPN: The Connecticut Sun vs. Indiana Fever (May 20) averaged 1.56 million viewers, making it the most-viewed WNBA game on ESPN ever.
  • CBS: In the Network’s first game of the season, the New York Liberty vs. the Minnesota Lynx (May 25) averaged 704,000 viewers, making it the most-viewed WNBA game on CBS ever.
  •  ION:  ION, in its second year airing WNBA games, saw its most-viewed WNBA game ever when the Indiana Fever vs. the Los Angeles Sparks averaged 724,000 viewers on May 24. ION’s average WNBA game viewership has increased by 51% households, comparing Weeks 1-3 of the 2023 season to Weeks 1-3 of the 2024 season.
  • NBA TV: The Los Angeles Sparks vs. the Indiana Fever (May 28) averaged 356,000 viewers, making it the most-viewed WNBA game on NBA TV ever.
  • *Subsequently surpassed by the Fever at Liberty game (June 2), which averaged 430,000 viewers, making it the most-viewed WNBA game on NBA TV ever.
  • Since the start of the season, WNBAStore.com has already set the record for the most single-season sales in store history, with overall transactions up 756% compared to the same time period last year.
  • WNBA social channels garnered 157 million video views through the first week of the season, the most viewed WNBA tip-off week on social media ever and up 380% vs. last year.
  • May set an all-time high for WNBA League Pass subscriptions with a 335% increase vs. last season.

“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,” said Chief Growth Officer Colie Edison. “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.”

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