The WNBA today announced that the league’s 26th regular season, set to tip off on Friday, May 6, will be highlighted by 25 national broadcasts during the regular season across ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. During the upcoming season, the WNBA will partner with Google and Disney Networks to present up to a possible 52 games beginning with the regular season and extending through the recently expanded postseason, which would include up to 27 games.
The complete television and streaming schedule, including a combined 40 games on CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network, as well as additional offerings from NBA TV, Prime Video, and Facebook Watch will be unveiled at a later date.
“ESPN has been a stalwart broadcast partner for the WNBA for 26 consecutive years, and we are grateful they, in partnership with Google are providing significant opportunities to view WNBA games in 2022,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “From tip-off weekend through our expanded postseason, ESPN and Google are continuing to serve our growing fan base and providing an enormous national platform for WNBA players and fans.”
“When we became a WNBA Changemaker last year, our first goal was to increase the amount of women’s sports content available across broadcast and digital, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far in partnership with the WNBA and Disney,” said Joshua Spanier, Global Vice President of Marketing for Media, Google. “We look forward to working with them again this season as the Presenting Partner of the WNBA Playoffs to continue the push for equity and inclusion in women’s sports by giving fans – and advertisers – more opportunities to support and recognize these amazing athletes.”
The ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 broadcast schedule gets underway on Saturday, May 7, when reigning Kia WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones and fellow 2021 All-Stars DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones lead the Connecticut Sun into New York to take on the Liberty, led by Betnijah Laney, a 2021 All-Star, Sabrina Ionescu, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020, and Michaela Onyenwere, the 2021 Kia WNBA Rookie of the Year (ESPN, 6 p.m. ET).
“We are proud to continue our long-standing relationship with the WNBA, having been connected with the league since the very beginning of its 26-year history,” said Matt Kenny, vice president, programming and acquisitions. “We look forward to this season as we deepen our commitment with increased coverage of the newly expanded postseason.”
The league’s opening weekend also includes a star-studded ESPN2 doubleheader on Sunday, May 8. Action tips off when the Washington Mystics, owners of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, visit the Minnesota Lynx and two-time WNBA Finals MVP and 2021 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Sylvia Fowles, who will be playing her 15th and final season in the WNBA (8 p.m. ET). Following that game, the action shifts to Las Vegas where the Seattle Storm, featuring Sue Bird, the league’s all-time assists leader and 12-time All-Star selection entering her 19th active season, and Jewell Loyd, a three-time WNBA All-Star, visit the Aces, who are under the direction of new Head Coach Becky Hammon and led by two-time All-Star and 2020 Kia WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson (10 p.m. ET).
Other Highlights of the ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 Broadcast Schedule:
A WNBA record-tying high nine regular-season games are slated for broadcast on ABC, including the presentation of doubleheaders on each of the final two weekends of the regular season when teams will be vying for playoff contention and positioning. In addition, five games will air on ESPN and 10 on ESPN2.
Two teams with a quartet of 2021 All-Stars on their respective rosters – Connecticut with Bonner, Brionna Jones, Jonquel Jones, and Courtney Williams, and the Phoenix Mercury, with Skylar Diggins-Smith, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, and free agent signee Tina Charles – will each appear on ESPN networks eight times.
Making six appearances each will be the defending champion Chicago Sky, which returns its starting five from Game 4 of the 2021 Finals presented by YouTube TV (Kahleah Copper, Candace Parker, Allie Quigley, Azurá Stevens and Courtney Vandersloot); Las Vegas, led by its three No. 1 overall draft picks (Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young) and four-time All-Star Chelsea Gray; and Seattle, which features Bird, Loyd and Breanna Stewart, a two-time Finals MVP, in search of what would be that franchise’s WNBA record-breaking fifth title.
·Chicago and Phoenix, whose rivalry took root during the 2021 WNBA Finals presented by YouTube TV, will meet three times across the ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 networks. The Sky and Mercury will first meet on Tuesday, May 31 in Chicago in a game featuring former Finals MVPs Copper, Parker, and Emma Meesseman of Chicago, and Taurasi of Phoenix, who’ll be joined by seven-time All-Star Griner (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET). ESPN will present the two teams again on Saturday, July 2, when they square off in Chicago (1 p.m. ET), and ABC will broadcast their final matchup from Phoenix on the last day of the regular season, Aug. 14 (ABC, 3 p.m. ET).
- Bird, Fowles, and Taurasi, the league’s career leaders in assists, rebounds, and points, respectively, will be involved in a pair of head-to-head matchups, first when Bird and the Storm meets Taurasi’s Mercury on Saturday, May 14 (ABC, 3 p.m. ET) and when Fowles’ Lynx face Bird’s Storm on Tuesday, June 14 (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET).
- On Monday, July 4, the Los Angeles Sparks, with a revamped roster featuring newly acquired Liz Cambage, a two-time All-WNBA pick, and with returning veteran and 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike, host the Mercury (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET).
- AT&T WNBA All-Star 2022 will take place on Sunday, July 10.
- All ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS telecasts during the regular season and postseason will stream live on the ESPN app.
The 2022 regular season will feature a record-high 36 games per team, providing fans greater opportunities to see the best players in the world compete at the highest level. Year two of Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase play also brings added incentive to the first half of the season for players and teams while offering fans conference rivalry competition through which to support their favorite teams.
At the conclusion of the 2022 regular season on Sunday, Aug. 14, the WNBA will implement its new postseason format announced in November. As part of its ongoing commitment to increase visibility and coverage of women’s sports, Google, a WNBA Changemaker and Presenting Partner of the WNBA Playoffs, and Disney will once again collaborate with the WNBA to broadcast additional games. Wall to wall coverage of the WNBA Playoffs presented by Google and the WNBA Finals presented by YouTube TV will feature up to a record 27 nationally televised playoff games broadcast across ABC and ESPN networks.
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