Average viewership of WNBA games was 379,000 in the 2022 regular season. It was a 16 percent increment from the 2021 season.

The WNBA had more people watching their games in 2022 compared to the year before. On ESPN networks alone, they had an average of 372,000 viewers for 25 games, 19 percent higher than before and the highest since 2008.

Except for the last two seasons, there has been an uneven fluctuation in the WNBA audience demographics. Despite the decline in the bar chart, the Women's National Basketball Association has made some progress in recent years.

However, it is still far behind the average viewership of NBA games which had a staggering 1.59 million viewers for the 2022-23 regular season.

The 27th edition of the WNBA campaign began on May 19, 2023. Every game will be live telecast on ESPN Networks, CBS Sports Network and NBA TV.

WNBA Finals Viewership By Year

WNBA finals viewership on average last five years:

Year Viewership Champion Team
2018 481,000 Seattle Storm
2019 381,000 Washington Mystics
2020 440,000 Seattle Storm
2021 546,000 Chicago Sky
2022 534,000 Las Vegas Aces

The finals experienced a significant increase in the number of people watching the games in 2021 and 2022 after a dent in viewership in 2019.

The WNBA All Star game ratings had an increment of 54 percent more than in 2021, with an average of 734,000 people watching and the highest number in six years.

The WNBA draft also had more people tuning in, with a 20 percent increase compared to last year and 403,000 viewers watching on ESPN. In 2008, the league reached new heights of popularity as it attracted a large audience, leading to a significant increase in viewership.

Average TV viewers of the WNBA Finals from 2017 to 2022
Source : sportslulu

Games that were shown on national TV channels like ABC and ESPN2 saw an increase of 19% in both WNBA ratings by year and WNBA viewership 2023. The ratings increased from 0.27 to 0.32, and the viewership rose from 346,000 to 413,000.

WNBA Tv ratings by year 2023 are expected to increase with teams playing a whopping 40 games each, making it the highest number of games ever scheduled for a single season.

WNBA vs NBA Viewership

NBA has significantly higher viewership than the WNBA. In 2022, the regular season NBA game pulled anywhere from 1.4 - 3.03 million viewers.

The NBA has many advantages over the women's league, which affects factors like viewership, wnba ratings 2023, investments, resources, facilities, and media coverage. As a result, the NBA naturally attracts a larger audience.

In comparison, it set a WNBA viewership statistics record in 2022, averaging 379,000 viewers per game. Although there has been a surge in WNBA spectators in the past couple of years, the association still has much to catch up with its male counterpart, the National Basketball Association.

Contrast in salary across WNBA and NBA.
Source : twitter

The 2023 WNBA draft accumulated the largest viewership since 2023, with average viewers of 572,000. With the women's college basketball sparkling greater interest, the viewership has also increased accordingly.

Moreover, the number of people who watch WNBA games on TV is much less than those who watch NBA games. However, the viewership, attendance, and merchandise sales growth indicate a positive trend for the women's league.

The 2022 NBA Finals rating between Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors was 7.6, and around 12.4 million people watched the games.

On another note, the women's game between the Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces on ABC was popular as, on average, 852,000 people watched the game, and at one point, it had 1.1 million viewers. This made it the most-watched WNBA game on any channel since 2008.

WNBA Viewership Demographics

The latest WNBA viewership demographics reveal that most of the audience are women, accounting for 52% of the overall viewers.

The audience demographics have changed drastically over the 25 years of WNBA history. In the early years, the viewers were primarily white and female.

However, in recent years, the league has made a synergetic effort to reach a broader audience, and its following has become more diverse. According to a 2019 report, the WNBA's television audience is 49% white, 29% black, 17% Hispanic, and 5% Asian.

Regarding specific groups of viewers, the WNBA games did particularly well in attracting certain demographics on ESPN2 in 2008.

Among women aged 18 to 34, WNBA viewership by year increased by 71%. Even among men in the same age group, there was a notable increase of 28%.

Graphical representation of diversity in sports.
Source : sportslulu

On ABC, the games also saw positive growth in followings. Overall, there was a 10% increase in WNBA viewership by gender among all women and a 20% increase among women aged 18 to 34.

Then in 2009, ESPN2 aired 13 regular-season games, and on average, 269,000 people watched each game. This was an improvement of 8% compared to the 2008 season, which had an average of 248,000 viewers.

The regular-season games on ESPN2 also attracted more viewers from important demographic groups. The number of males between the ages of 18 and 34 who watched increased by 9%, while men between 18 and 49 increased by 14%, and men between 23 and 54 increased by 23%.

Furthermore, according to ESPN, in 2013, most of the people who watched the WNBA were men. This had been the issue for many years, and in that particular year, 66% of the viewers were male.

Similarly, a 2016 blog post published by HuffPost indicated that the majority of the WNBA's audience, about 75 percent, consists of women. This indicates a steady increase in interest among female viewers.

Where To Watch WNBA Games?

WNBA games are shown on various TV channels across the US, such as ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, CBS Sports Network, NBA TV, and ION.

Before ESPN and CBS acquired the rights to broadcast the games, NBC had the sole right to telecast games from 1997 to 2002. Then in 2007, ESPN signed a multi-year deal with WNBA, an 8-year TV compact till 2016.

In 2013, the WNBA and ESPN agreed to continue their partnership for six more years, covering 2017 to 2022. Moreover, ESPN has also earned the right to broadcast up to 52 possible games in the 2023 season.

Watch WNBA on ESPN
Source : espn

Then, on 22 April 2019, CBS Sports Network made a deal to broadcast 40 WNBA games on weekends and during prime time, starting from the 2019 season.

Moreover, in 2023, Ion Television inked an agreement with the WNBA to show 15 Friday night games under the name "WNBA Friday Night Spotlight" on the ION network.

WNBA League Pass

The WNBA introduced an online streaming service called WNBA League Pass in 2009. This feature allowed fans to watch over 200 live game webcasts during the entire season.

Launched as WNBA LiveAccess on WNBA.com, it is a free app available on Android and iOS devices, and the price is $16.99 for a season.

The WNBA's official OTT platform saw remarkable growth in traffic over the past year. The number of unique visitors nearly doubled, reaching 5.4 million, which is a tremendous 99 percent increase compared to 2021.

WNBA on Amazon Prime
Source : facebook

Besides, WNBA can also be viewed on several streaming platforms, including Prime Video, Meta, and ESPN+.

In May 2021, Amazon Prime struck a long-term agreement to broadcast 16 regular season games on its platform. Similarly, from 2023, twenty WNBA can be visualized through Meta Quest platforms, according to the deal between the two parties.

Similarly, on social media platforms, the WNBA set a new record with 186 million views of their videos. This represents a substantial increase of 36 percent compared to the previous season.