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WNBA record TV audiences: How many people are watching the 2024 season?




Business is going well for the WNBA organization, largely thanks to the highly coveted rookie class, which includes Caitlin Clark, Cameron Brink, and Angel Reese. For the first time since the league’s introduction in 1998, the commercial side is on par with its men’s counterpart in the NBA.

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Apr 15, 2024; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark pose for photos before the 2024 WNBA Draft at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsBrad PennerUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

On Monday, the league posted record television and attendance numbers for the first playing month of the season, and the numbers are safe to say fantastic. Unsurprisingly, both are up compared to last year, with TV ratings reaching all-time highs and attendance at its highest in 26 years.

WNBA viewership

The 28th season, which began on May 14, has become the most-watched in the WNBA’s history on TV networks. Across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and CBS, the WNBA is averaging 1.3 million viewers per game, which is triple the average viewership of 462,000 from last season. The league has also reported a more diverse viewership, with a 60% increase in viewership among people of color and a doubling of viewership among young girls and those under the age of 35 in the season’s first week.

The season-opening game between the Indiana Fever and the Connecticut Sun drew an average of 2.12 million viewers on ESPN 2, ESPN+, and Disney+, making it the most-watched WNBA game on any Disney platform in history. The rematch between the Fever and the Sun on ESPN also drew a large TV audience, with an average of 1.56 million viewers, which is the highest for any WNBA game on the network.

Furthermore, the WNBA reported a 335% increase in WNBA League Pass subscriptions.

WNBA attendance and merchandise

In May, the WNBA also saw a surge in fan attendance, with approximately 400,000 fans flocking to the Games, marking the highest numbers since 1998. This increase reflects a positive trend in fan engagement, with over half of the league’s Games being completely sold out, a significant 156% increase from the previous season.

The league attributes much of this success to its impressive lineup of rookie players. The soaring merchandise sales, which saw a 236% jump compared to the previous year, were primarily driven by the popularity of rising stars such as Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever and Angel Reese of the Chicago Sky.