GenreWNBA basketball telecasts
Directed byBonnie Reilly
StarringRyan Ruocco
Rebecca Lobo
Holly Rowe
Andraya Carter
Pam Ward
Monica McNutt
Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
LaChina Robinson
Carolyn Peck
Chiney Ogwumike
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerRodney Vaughn
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time120 minutes+
Production companiesABC Sports
Original release
ReleaseMay 24, 2003 (2003-05-24)[1]

The WNBA on ABC is the branding used for presentations of Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) games produced ESPN and broadcast on the ABC television network in the United States.


In the early years, two women's-oriented networks, Lifetime and Oxygen, also broadcast games including the first game of the WNBA. NBC showed games from 1997 to 2002 as part of their NBA on NBC coverage before the league transferred the rights[2] to ABC/ESPN.[3][4][5]

Coverage breakdown

In June 2007, the WNBA signed a contract extension with ESPN. The new television deal ran from 2009 to 2016. A minimum of 18 games would be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 each season; the rights to broadcast the first regular-season game and the All-Star Game were held by ABC. Additionally, a minimum of 11 postseason games would be broadcast on any of the three stations.[6] Along with this deal, came the first-ever rights fees to be paid to a women's professional sports league. Over the eight years of the contract, "millions and millions of dollars" would be "dispersed to the league's teams".

Initially, Saturday and Sunday afternoon games were broadcast on ABC. 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.

Viewership for the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game on ABC was up 46% from the previous game. Game 1 of the 2015 WNBA Finals telecast on ABC, drew 571,000 viewers, up from 558,000 for Game 1 in 2014.[12] 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.[13][14] The five game 2016 Finals broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged a 0.3 rating and 487,000 viewers.[15] Average viewership in 2016 was 224,000 viewers.[16]


See also: List of NBA on ABC commentators, List of NBA on ESPN commentators, List of WNBA Finals broadcasters, List of WNBA All-Star Game broadcasters, ESPN_on_ABC § Personalities, and WNBA_on_ESPN § Announcers


  1. ^ "WNBA National TV Schedule (2003)". WNBA. Archived from the original on 2003-02-01.
  2. ^ "WNBA players hint at a strike". Washington Times. June 13, 2002.
  3. ^ "ESPN2, ABC Grab WNBA TV Rights". Multichannel News. June 12, 2002.
  4. ^ "WNBA Announces Six-Year Deal with ABC and ESPN". WNBA.com. June 12, 2002.
  5. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 13, 2002). "PLUS: PRO BASKETBALL; ABC And ESPN2 To Broadcast W.N.B.A. Games". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "WNBA agrees to a new TV deal with ESPN/ABC". 15 July 2007.
  7. ^ "2003-04 NBA TV schedule on ESPN/ESPN2/ABC". ESPN. July 30, 2003.
  8. ^ "ABC to air WNBA games". Variety. June 1, 2003.
  9. ^ "2004 WNBA Season Tips Off May 20". WNBA. January 21, 2004.
  10. ^ "2004-05 NBA TV schedule on ESPN/ESPN2/ABC". ESPN. August 2, 2004.
  11. ^ "WNBA Television Listings – 2013". ESPN. May 2013. Retrieved Sep 19, 2013.
  12. ^ "Game 1 of WNBA Finals sees Viewership Increase from 2014". The Futon Critic. October 8, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "ESPN: 2016 WNBA Finals Game 1 delivers best overnight rating since 2010". hoopfeed.com. October 10, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  14. ^ Robinson, Sam (October 11, 2016). "WNBA Finals draws best Game 1 rating since 1998". todaysfastbreak.com. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  15. ^ Paulsen (October 24, 2016). "Despite Classic Ending, WNBA Finals Down on ESPN2". Sports Media Watch. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  16. ^ "Numbers don't lie". Swish Appeal. Retrieved 2018-10-16.