WNBA Opening Game Ratings Up 25 %

The WNBA’s 2019 brand-reset yields highest-rated opening game since 2012.

The WNBA has revamped its entire production in 2019.

There’s a new commissioner, new logo, new TV and sponsorship partnerships, as well as an overall cultural shift where the league will burst out of its shell and be loud and proud in expressing itself, promoting its players and staying true to its standing as the No. 1 professional women’s sports league on the globe.

Add in the influx of talented lady ballers that have been produced over the past decade and the WNBA is delivering the best product in its 23-year history.

The league is already reaping the benefits of its brand re-setting as ABC’s presentation of the Seattle Storm vs. Phoenix Mercury on Saturday, May 25, delivered a 0.5 overnight rating according to Nielsen (excluding Chicago market), making it the highest-rated WNBA opening game on ESPN networks since the 2012 matchup between the Phoenix Mercury and four-time WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx (0.8, ABC).


This year’s season opener was up 25% compared to last year’s regular-season opener (0.4, ESPN2).

The top markets included: Seattle (1.5), Louisville (1.2), Nashville (1.1), Birmingham and Cleveland (0.9).

ESPN’s coverage of the 2019 WNBA season will continue Friday, May 31, with the Las Vegas Aces —  who were picked in the preseason GM poll to win the championship — at the Phoenix Mercury at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.