The WNBA on ESPN refers to the presentation of Women's National Basketball Association games on the ESPN family of networks. Under the title of WNBA Tuesday, games are broadcast throughout the WNBA season on Tuesday nights on ESPN2.

In June 2003, the WNBA signed a new six-year agreement with ABC Sports and ESPN to televise regular-season games and playoff games from 2003 through 2008. It was also announced that ESPN2 would televise a half-hour pre-game show before each broadcast.[1] In June 2007, the WNBA signed another contract extension with ESPN. The new television deal runs from 2009 to 2016. A minimum of 18 games will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 each season. Additionally, a minimum of 11 postseason games will be broadcast on any of the three stations.[2]

Along with this deal came the first ever rights fees to be paid to a women's professional sports league. WNBA president Donna Orender and John Skipper, ESPN vice president for content, gave no exact figure but said it was worth "millions and millions of dollars".[3]

Beginning with the 2009 WNBA season, all nationally broadcast WNBA games are shown in high definition.

On March 28, 2013, ESPN and the WNBA announced they had extended their agreement through 2022.[4] Under the agreement, there will be up to 30 games a year televised on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 each season, including the Finals.[5][6] Although the financial terms of the deal were not stated by ESPN or the WNBA, Sports Business Daily reported that sources said the deal was worth $12 million a year.[7] In 2014 ESPN and the WNBA renegotiated the television rights deal to $25 million per year. [8]

WNBA on ESPN logo
StarringGeno Auriemma
Mike Breen
Cindy Brunson
Doris Burke
Heather Cox
Terry Gannon
Mark Jones
Andrea Joyce
Marc Kestecher
Kara Lawson
Nancy Lieberman
Rebecca Lobo
Lisa Malosky
Ann Meyers
Beth Mowins
Dave Pasch
Carolyn Peck
Stephanie Ready
Holly Rowe
Ryan Ruocco
Michele Tafoya
Pam Ward
Bob Wischusen
Country of origin United States
Running time120 minutes+ (ESPN)
150 minutes+ (ABC)
Original networkESPN (1997 – present)
ESPN2 (2001 – present)
ABC (2003 – present)
ESPN Deportes (2004 – 2017?)
Picture format480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original release1997 –


Announcers change from year to year, but recent play-by-play personalities have included: Terry Gannon, Mark Jones, Dave Pasch and Pam Ward. Generally, game broadcasts include a pair of announcers—alongside those providing play-by-play are the color analysts which have included Doris Burke, Nancy Lieberman, Carolyn Peck, Rebecca Lobo.

These broadcasts also commonly include a sideline reporter. Recent sideline reporters have included Heather Cox, Holly Rowe and previously Rebecca Lobo.

During halftime of the broadcasts, Cindy Brunson, and more recently Doris Burke, provide game analysis and other sports updates.


One unique aspect of WNBA coverage on the ESPN family of networks is that many of the participants wear live microphones.[9] Starting with the 2003 WNBA All Star Game (which aired on ABC), most games televised have involved coaches, players and referees being wired for sound. On some occasions, the sound of players and coaches talking will overlap with commentary; also, on several occasions, ESPN has had to mute the sound because of expletives.


During the 2006 WNBA Finals, Detroit Shock head coach, and former ESPN NBA analyst, Bill Laimbeer became irritated[10] by ESPN's coverage, quoted by the Detroit Free Press as saying:

I just hear from our family and friends back home that, 'Boy, ESPN is killing you guys,' ... 'And (Nancy) Lieberman and Doris Burke are just trashing you left and right.' Not only me, but also some of our players on our ballclub. ... We're telling ESPN today to basically stick it.

Laimbeer banned ESPN from the Shock locker room for Game 4 of the series, and also refused to wear a live microphone for that game (as had been the custom throughout the regular season and the playoffs).

Former Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault admitted that he does not like having a microphone on during games. He also said that he sometimes finds himself turning the microphone off.


Old logo

Initially, Saturday and Sunday afternoon games were broadcast on ABC. Tuesday night games were broadcast on ESPN2. But over time that changed. For 2013, only one game was shown on ABC on Saturday, June 8, and thirteen games were shown on ESPN2 on five different days of the week (no WNBA games were shown on Sunday or Friday on ESPN2).[11] On opening day for the 2008 season (May 17), ABC broadcast the Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury matchup. The game received a little over 1 million viewers. Average viewership for games broadcast on national television (ABC and ESPN2) was 413,000 (up from 346,000 in 2007). Average viewership for the 2007 WNBA finals was 545,000.[12]

In 2008, the WNBA finished up in key demographics on ESPN2—Women 18–34 (+71%) and Men 18–34 (+28%) – and on ABC—All Women (+10%) and Women 18–34 (+20%).[13]

Ratings are less than those of the NBA, but with less support, are impressive. WNBA games averaged 413,000 viewers, compared to 1.46 million viewers for NBA games.[14]

The 2009 regular season on ESPN2 (13 telecasts) concluded with an average of 269,000 viewers, up 8% vs. 2008 season (248,000 viewers). In addition, regular-season games on ESPN2 saw increases in key demographics, including men 18–34 (+9%), men 18–49 (+14%) and men 23–54 (+23%). The WNBA finals between the Mercury and Fever had the highest average ratings (548,000 viewers), since average finals ratings began being recorded in 2007.[12]

The 2011 season on ESPN2 averaged 270,000 viewers per game, the league's highest since 2005 and up 5% from an average of 258,000 in 2010.[15] Viewership for the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game on ABC was up 46% from the previous game.

Game 2 of the 2012 WNBA Finals between the Indiana Fever and Minnesota Lynx was broadcast on ESPN (games 1,3 and 4 were on ESPN2) and received 778,000 viewers and a .6 household rating. This was the highest rated WNBA broadcast on ESPN since a 1999 Western Conference Finals game between the Houston Comets and Los Angeles Sparks received 1,052,000 viewers and a 1.1 household rating.[16][17] The average viewership for the 4 finals games in 2012 was 477,000.[12]

For 2013 the league averaged 231,000 viewers for 13 games on ESPN2, a 28% gain over the 180,000 average audience for nine telecasts in 2012.[18] The 2013 WNBA Finals games averaged 344,000 viewers.[19]

The 180,000 viewers for 9 games in 2012 was the lowest regular season WNBA ESPN2 ratings, with 2005 having the highest regular season ratings at 282,000. Two 2012 games broadcast on ESPN averaged 359,000 viewers (one game on ABC had 804,000 viewers).[20][21] In 2013 ESPN said that their WNBA audience was majority male, as it had been for years. 66% of the viewers were male and almost half were African-Americans.[19]

Viewership for the 19 games broadcast for the 2014 regular season was an average of 240,000.[22] The ratings on ESPN2 for the conference semifinals were a household rating of 0.2 versus 0.1 in 2013 and 262,000 viewers versus 200,000 in 2013.[23] The 2014 WNBA finals averaged 659,000 viewers across the ESPN channels, up 91% from the 2013 finals between the Minnesota Lynx and the Atlanta Dream which averaged 345,000. Overall, the 2014 playoffs averaged a 0.3 rating and 489,000 viewers on the ESPN networks, up from 0.2 and 272,000 in 2013.[12]

In 2015 ESPN2 televised ten regular season games, and ESPN one, for an average of 202,000 viewers.[24] Game one of the finals telecast on ABC, drew 571,000 viewers, up from 558,000 for game 1 in 2014.[25] Game three of the finals drew 432,000 viewers, and game five drew 583,000, both on ESPN2.[26][27]

Game 1 of the 2016 WNBA Finals was broadcast on ABC and had 0.5 overnight rating (597,000 viewers), which was the best since 2010. [28][29] The 5 game 2016 Finals broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged a 0.3 rating and 487,000 viewers. [30] Average viewership in 2016 was 224,000 viewers. [31]

2017 viewership hit an all-time low with 171,000 average regular season viewers.[32] 2018 regular season viewership increased 35% over 2017 to 231,000. [33]


  1. ^ "WNBA Announces Six-Year Deal with ABC and ESPN". wnba.com. WNBA. June 12, 2002. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  2. ^ https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/113473 New television deal
  3. ^ Dixon, Oscar (July 15, 2007). "WNBA: Eight-year deal with ESPN worth 'millions and millions'". USA Today. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  4. ^ "ESPN, WNBA extend agreement". ESPN. March 28, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  5. ^ "ESPN and WNBA work out broadcast deal". USAToday. March 28, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  6. ^ Lefton, Terry; Ourand, John (April 1, 2013). "What drove the new WNBA deal". sportsbusinessdaily.com. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Lefton, Terry (March 28, 2013). "ESPN Signs Six-Year Extension With WNBA That Is Worth $12M Per Year". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  8. ^ Ourand, John (May 9, 2016). "ESPN's new deal doubles rights fee". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  9. ^ "Thibault, Whisenant to wear mics during game". espn.com. ESPN. September 11, 2005. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  10. ^ Silva, Chris (September 6, 2006). "Laimbeer not too happy with ESPN". freep.com. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  11. ^ "WNBA Television Listings - 2013". ESPN. May 2013. Retrieved Sep 19, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d Paulsen (September 18, 2014). "2014 WNBA Finals Hits Multi-Year Viewership High". www.sportsmediawatch.com/. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  13. ^ "WNBA Closes Regular Season Up in Attendance, TV Ratings and Web Traffic". wnba.com. WNBA. September 16, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  14. ^ Zeigler, Cyd (October 2, 2008). "WNBA ratings up but still not good". outsports.com. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "More Ratings: WNBA on ESPN, Texas Rangers, Nationwide Series". Sports Media Watch. Aug 31, 2011. Retrieved Sep 19, 2013.
  16. ^ "2012 WNBA Finals Schedule". WNBA. October 2012. Retrieved Sep 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "Game 2 of the WNBA Finals most viewed WNBA postseason game on ESPN since 1999". Hoopfeed.com. October 18, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  18. ^ Reynolds, Mike (Sep 18, 2013). "WNBA Nets Double-Digit Audience Gains on ESPN2, NBATV". Multichannel News. Retrieved Sep 19, 2013.
  19. ^ a b Ourand, John; Karp, Austin (November 11, 2013). "With rebound, WNBA solidifies spot at ESPN". sportsbusinessdaily.com. Sports Business Journal. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  20. ^ Lefton, Terry; Ourand, John (April 1, 2013). "What drove the new WNBA deal". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  21. ^ "ESPN Unveils 12-Game Regular-Season Schedule for the 2012 WNBA Season". TV by the Numbers. May 16, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  22. ^ Lombardo, John (August 18, 2014). "WNBA expects at least six teams to post profit". sportsbusinessdaily.com. Street & Smith's Sports Business Daily/Global/Journal. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  23. ^ Margolis, Rachel (September 10, 2014). "WNBA Finals Delivers Best Overnight Since 2007". espnmediazone.com. ESPN. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  24. ^ Lombardo, John (September 21, 2015). "With 20th season ahead, league sees attendance, ratings drop". Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  25. ^ "Game 1 of WNBA Finals sees Viewership Increase from 2014". The Futon Critic. October 8, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  26. ^ Paulsen (October 12, 2015). "More Ratings: SVP SportsCenter, WNBA Finals, NASCAR Xfinity". Sport Media Watch. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  27. ^ Paulsen (October 15, 2015). "Ratings Roundup: WNBA Finals, Premier Boxing, NHL on NBCSN". Sports Media Watch. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  28. ^ "ESPN: 2016 WNBA Finals Game 1 delivers best overnight rating since 2010". hoopfeed.com. October 10, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  29. ^ Robinson, Sam (October 11, 2016). "WNBA Finals draws best Game 1 rating since 1998". todaysfastbreak.com. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  30. ^ Paulsen (October 24, 2016). "Despite Classic Ending, WNBA Finals Down on ESPN2". Sports Media Watch. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  31. ^ "Numbers don't lie". Swish Appeal. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  32. ^ Karp, Austin (September 7, 2017). "Audience Analysis: WNBA Regular-Season Viewership Hits New Low For ESPN/ESPN2". Street & Smith's Sports Business Daily. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  33. ^ Chozet, Tara (August 21, 2018). "ESPN Tips off WNBA Postseason with First Round Doubleheader Tonight". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved October 5, 2018.

External links

Preceded by
WNBA network broadcast partner (ABC, ESPN)
Succeeded by
Beth Mowins

Elizabeth Mowins (born May 26, 1967) is a play-by-play announcer and sports journalist for ESPN and CBS. She typically calls women's college sports, and became only the second woman to call nationally televised college football games for ESPN in 2005. Mowins was paired with Cat Whitehill on ESPN's tertiary broadcast team for the telecasts of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Colin Cowherd

Colin Cowherd (born January 6, 1964) is an American sports media personality. Cowherd began his broadcasting career as sports director of Las Vegas television station KVBC and as a sports anchor on several other stations before joining ESPN in 2003, where he hosted a radio show on the ESPN Radio network and also became one of the original hosts of ESPN's television program SportsNation, as well as Colin's New Football Show. Cowherd is the host of The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports 1. The Herd is FS1's top-rated studio program. He was also a host of Speak For Yourself on FS1.

After Cowherd made a controversial statement about Dominican Republic baseball players, it was announced in July 2015 that Cowherd would leave ESPN following the end of his contract with them. In August 2015, it was revealed that he would join Fox Sports beginning in September—a deal that includes his radio show moving to Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports 1. While scheduled to leave at the end of the month, Cowherd was suspended from ESPN on July 24, 2015 after those controversial remarks he made on The Herd the previous day. Cowherd was roommates with Coach Jim McElwain (former Colorado State University and University of Florida football head coach) at Eastern Washington.


ESPN on ABC (known as ABC Sports from 1961 to 2006) is the brand used for sports event and documentary programming televised on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in the United States. Officially, the broadcast network retains its own sports division; however, for all practical purposes, ABC's sports division has been merged into ESPN Inc., the parent subsidiary of cable sports network ESPN that is majority owned by ABC's corporate parent, The Walt Disney Company, in partnership with the Hearst Communications.

ABC broadcasts use ESPN's production and announcing staff, and incorporate elements such as ESPN-branded on-screen graphics, SportsCenter in-game updates, and the BottomLine ticker. The ABC logo is used for identification purposes as a digital on-screen graphic during sports broadcasts on the network, and in promotions to disambiguate events airing the broadcast network from those shown on the ESPN cable channel.The broadcast network's sports event coverage carried the ABC Sports brand prior to September 2, 2006. When ABC acquired a controlling interest in ESPN in 1984, it operated the cable network separately from its network sports division. The integration of ABC Sports with ESPN began after The Walt Disney Company bought ABC in 1996. The branding change to ESPN on ABC was made to better orient ESPN viewers with event telecasts on ABC and provide consistent branding for all sports broadcasts on Disney-owned channels (shortly thereafter, ESPN2's in-game graphics were likewise altered to simply use the main "ESPN" brand). Despite its name, ABC's sports coverage is supplemental to ESPN and (with occasional exceptions) not a simulcast of programs aired by the network, although ESPN and ESPN2 will often carry ABC's regional broadcasts that otherwise would not air in certain markets.

List of American television programs currently in production

This is a list of American television programs currently in production.

List of WNBA Finals broadcasters

The following is a list of the television networks and announcers that have broadcast the WNBA Finals.

List of longest-running U.S. cable television series

This is a list of the longest running United States cable television series, ordered by number of broadcast seasons.

To qualify for this list, the programming must originate in North America and shown nationally in the United States and be first-run (as opposed to a repackaging of previously aired material or material released in other media). For the purposes of this list, series that were available only on a local or regional basis will be excluded. For series that originated on U.S. broadcast networks (or broadcast syndication) and then was picked up by a national cable network, only the amount aired nationally on cable as original programming is represented here.

List of longest-running United States television series

This is a list of the longest-running United States television series, ordered by number of years the show has been aired. This list includes only first-run series originating in North America and available throughout the United States via national broadcast networks, U.S. cable networks, or syndication. Series continuations (with name changes and/or changes in network) are noted. Series broadcast within the U.S. but produced in other countries, such as Coronation Street (50+ years) and Doctor Who are not included (see: List of longest-running UK television series).

NASCAR Countdown

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The program was also available in high-definition on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. Along with the press release of this program, ESPN also announced plans for a daily show devoted to NASCAR entitled NASCAR Now. NASCAR Countdown was telecast from a new, state-of-the-art mobile pit studio, similar to NASCAR on Fox's "Hollywood Hotel."

At Sprint Cup events, the program was always hosted by Nicole Briscoe. Joining Briscoe was five-time NBA All-Star and former winning NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty and former Cup champion Rusty Wallace. Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett also contributed to the program from the broadcast booth.

Ryan Ruocco

Ryan P. Ruocco [ROO-co] (born November 18, 1986) is an American television and radio sportscaster. Ruocco does Play-by-Play broadcasting for the NBA and WNBA on ESPN, the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets on YES Network, and boxing for DAZN. He hosts the podcast R2C2 on LeBron James’s digital media network UNINTERRUPTED with New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. He previously hosted the Stephen A. Smith/Ryan Ruocco Show on ESPN NY Radio 98.7 FM.

Schooled (TV series)

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Terry Gannon

Terrance Patrick Gannon (born November 1, 1963, in Joliet, Illinois) is a sportscaster for NBC Sports and Golf Channel, currently announcing golf and figure skating. Although he is currently most closely associated with figure skating and golf, he is known as one of the "most versatile" announcers, having covered everything from college basketball and football to rugby and cycling.

The Conners

The Conners is an American television sitcom created for ABC as a spin-off of Roseanne. The series is produced by Werner Entertainment, with Bruce Helford serving as showrunner.

The series stars John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara, Jayden Rey, and Maya Lynne Robinson, with all except Robinson reprising their roles from Roseanne. Development on a spin-off began following the cancellation of Roseanne in May 2018, due to a comment that was widely viewed as racist made by Roseanne Barr on Twitter. The next month, ABC ordered the series and confirmed the adult principal cast's involvement, while Kenney, McNamara, and Rey were confirmed in August. It airs in the Tuesday, 8:00 PM, slot its predecessor was scheduled to hold during the 2018–19 television season. The series premiered on October 16, 2018. On October 26, 2018, ABC ordered an extra episode, bringing the episode order to 11. On March 22, 2019, the show was renewed for a second season of 13 episodes. On May 14, 2019, ABC ordered six extra episodes, bringing the episode order to 19.

The Goldbergs (2013 TV series)

The Goldbergs is an American television period sitcom that premiered on September 24, 2013, on ABC. The series was created by Adam F. Goldberg and stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin, Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia, and George Segal. The show is produced by Adam F Goldberg, Seth Gordon, and Doug Robinson. It is based on Goldberg's childhood and family in the 1980s, complete with a childhood version of himself. On May 11, 2019, ABC renewed the series for a seventh season.

The Great American Baking Show

The Great American Baking Show is an American cooking competition television series and an adaptation of The Great British Bake Off (which is aired in the United States under the title The Great British Baking Show). Its first season aired on ABC under the title The Great Holiday Baking Show. The show is the second licensed adaptation of the GBBO format in the United States. In 2013, CBS produced one season of The American Baking Competition, which was hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, with Paul Hollywood and Mexican-American chef Marcela Valladolid as judges.

The first two seasons were hosted by Nia Vardalos and Ian Gomez, with Mary Berry from the original GBBO series and American pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini as judges. The third season was hosted by cookbook author Ayesha Curry and former football player Anthony Adams. Iuzzini returned as judge and was joined by original GBBO judge Paul Hollywood. The season was pulled off schedule following sexual harassment allegations against judge Iuzzini, who was officially fired from the show and ABC. On May 4, 2018, the show was renewed for a fourth season.

Women's National Basketball Association

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) is a professional basketball league in the United States. It is currently composed of twelve teams.

The league was founded on April 24, 1996, as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association (NBA), and league play started in 1997. The regular season is played from May to September with the All Star game being played midway through the season in July and the WNBA Finals at the end of September until the beginning of October.

Five WNBA teams have direct NBA counterparts and play in the same arena: the Atlanta Dream, Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury. The Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, Las Vegas Aces, New York Liberty, Seattle Storm, and Washington Mystics do not share an arena with a direct NBA counterpart, although three of the six (the Sky, the Wings, and the Liberty) share a market with an NBA counterpart, and the Storm shared an arena and market with an NBA team at the time of its founding. The Sky, the Sun, the Wings, the Aces, the Sparks and the Storm are all independently owned.

Annual events
U.S. networks
Co-owned Canadian
sports networks
Defunct ventures
Sports broadcasting rights
Other properties
Notable personalities
Related articles
Key figures
NBA Finals
All-Star Game
ABC programming (current and upcoming)
Late night
Saturday morning

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