The Verizon WNBA All-Star Game 2018 will highlight the league’s stars in the 15th edition of the star-studded event, broadcasting live on ABC on Saturday, July 28, at 3:30 p.m. ET from the Target Center in Minneapolis. Ryan Ruocco will call the game alongside analyst Rebecca Lobo, with reporters Holly Rowe and LaChina Robinson. In addition, ESPN2 will televise the hour-long All-Star Friday Night special on Friday, July 27, at 9 p.m., in which the team captains, the Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker and Washington Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne, discuss their starting lineups.
This year’s game will feature a new format, with the 22 selected All Stars chosen by fans, WNBA players and head coaches, and media. Parker and Delle Donne will serve as captains for their respective teams. The 2018 production will feature extensive access to the players, coaches, locker rooms and benches.This year’s All-Star participants were voted on regardless of conference affiliation. The crop of 22 players include: Minnesota’s Maya Moore, who will be playing in her sixth All-Star and is the 2015 and 2017 All Star MVP; Seattle’s Sue Bird, who will make her 11th All-Star appearance; Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi, who has started in each of her previous eight All-Star Games; and A’ja Wilson, the only rookie among this year’s All-Star class, and the 2017 No.1-overall pick.
ESPN will use 13 cameras during the game, the most ever for an All-Star event, to capture the action on the court. Additional production highlights include:
- Rowe (Team Parker) and Robinson (Team Delle Donne) will have in-game access to both the Team Parker and Team Delle Donne benches, conducting live interviews with players;
- Both All-Star coaches – Dan Hughes/Seattle (Team Delle Donne) and Sandy Brondello/Phoenix (Team Parker) – will wear mics during the game;
- Select players will be mic’ed during the game;
- Pre-game and halftime locker room access;
- Three-Point Contest during halftime.
In addition, espnW will have comprehensive coverage of this year’s All-Star Game from Minneapolis, including:
- Columnist Mechelle Voepel and writer Pat Borzi will report from the Target Center, tracking all of the pregame, in-game and postgame stories;
- Instagram takeovers from Minneapolis – The Connecticut Sun’s Chiney Ogwumike will take over the @ESPN account on game day, while ESPN’s Rowe will provide the stories for the @espnW handle;
- From espnW’s “Cool Jobs” series, a behind-the-scenes feature on Allison Galer, agent to Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie, Chiney Ogwumike, and other WNBA stars.
The 2018 All-Star Game will be the ninth All-Star event broadcast on ABC (there was no All-Star Game in 2016 due to the Olympics). Last year, the Lynx’s Moore led the Western Conference to a 130-121 victory as she repeated as All-Star Game MVP (2015).
2018 WNBA Season Viewership Up 38% in First-Half of Season, Most-Watched Since 2012
The 2018 WNBA season on ESPN is off to a strong start in the first half, averaging 247,000 viewers per game through nine games, and up 38% compared to the same point last year (through 10 games). Year-to-date, the 2018 season is ESPN’s most-watched regular-season since 2012. The June 28 matchup between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Seattle Storm notched the season’s most-viewed game (382,000 viewers), and most-watched WNBA regular-season game since 2013.
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