The 2020 WNBA season will feature the first-ever Commissioner’s Cup tournament, an expanded schedule with 36 games per team and an increase in nationally televised games on ABC. The league’s 24th regular season tips off on Friday, May 15, 2020 and concludes on Sunday, Sept. 20.
“We are incredibly excited to introduce a first-of-its-kind in-season tournament for our league and present more regular-season games on ABC, increasing the WNBA’s national television exposure,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “The Commissioner’s Cup offers fans another competition through which to support their favorite teams and adds a new dimension to the season for our players and teams. And the 2020 schedule gives fans even more opportunities to see the best players in the world compete at the highest level and highlights the ABC/ESPN family’s continued commitment to the WNBA and women’s sports.”
“We are honored to once again offer fans an extensive slate of WNBA matchups this season, with games on ESPN/ESPN2 and an increase on ABC,” said Carol Stiff, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. “The WNBA continues to be a priority for ESPN, as it has been since its launch. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with the league, elevating women’s professional basketball to new heights.”
The new Commissioner’s Cup will consist of designating a portion of regular-season games – 10 games per team – as counting towards Cup play. The team from each conference with the top record in designated “Cup games” will then compete for The Commissioner Cup title and a special prize pool. Cup games will be the first home game and first road game each team plays against its five conference rivals, all completed from May 15 – July 10 before the WNBA takes a monthlong break while many WNBA players participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan, including the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, which will be competing for its seventh consecutive gold medal.
The Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game is tentatively scheduled to be played on Friday, Aug. 14, two days before regular-season play resumes on Sunday, Aug. 16 following the Olympic break. Further information on The Commissioner’s Cup will be forthcoming.
Expanded Regular-Season Schedule
The WNBA’s regular-season schedule has increased to an all-time high 36 games per team, up two games from 34. Each team will play 18 home games and 18 road games. The previous schedule, which grew from 28 to 32 games per team over the WNBA’s first six seasons, has consisted of 34 games per team since 2003.
ESPN Networks’ Coverage
ESPN networks will present 17 regular-season telecasts, including five games on ABC – up from three last season. ESPN will televise two regular-season games and ESPN2 will air 10. ESPN networks will also present up to 19 playoff games. All ESPN telecasts during the regular season and postseason will stream live on the ESPN app.
Live coverage by ESPN networks tips off on Saturday, May 16 when reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne and the defending champion Washington Mystics host two-time MVP Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks at 4 p.m. ET.
The Mystics and Sparks, along with WNBA career points leader Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury, will appear on ESPN networks five times during the regular season. Former MVP Breanna Stewart and the Seattle Storm will appear four times.
The Connecticut Sun will also appear four times on ESPN networks, beginning with a 2019 WNBA Finals rematch against the Mystics on Sunday, June 28 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Washington defeated Connecticut in the decisive Game 5 of a thrilling, back and forth, five-game series in the WNBA Finals last season.
The WNBA regular season tips off on Friday, May 15 with three games: the Minnesota Lynx at the Chicago Sky, the Atlanta Dream at the Indiana Fever and the Dallas Wings at the Storm.
The following day, in addition to ESPN’s telecast of Los Angeles at Washington, Connecticut hosts the New York Liberty and Chicago visits Atlanta.
Opening weekend concludes with four games on Sunday, May 17: Los Angeles at New York, Dallas at the Las Vegas Aces, Seattle at Phoenix and Indiana at Minnesota.
More Schedule Highlights
- A complete list of telecasts to air on NBA TV and CBS Sports Network in the United States and on Sportsnet and TSN in Canada will be announced at a later date. The schedule of WNBA games to be streamed on Twitter as well as those available on WNBA League Pass will also be announced at a later date.
- All 12 teams will be in action on the last day of competition before the Olympic break (Friday, July 10), on the first day of regular-season games after the Olympic break (Sunday, Aug. 16), and again on the final day of the regular season (Sunday, Sept. 20).
- Las Vegas and Chicago, whose second-round playoff game last season ended with a game-winning, half-court shot by the Aces’ Dearica Hamby, will meet in Chicago on May 24 and in Las Vegas on June 27 (ESPN2).
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