WNBA on NBC
GenreWNBA basketball telecasts
StarringBruce Beck
Mike Breen
Tom Hammond
Dan Hicks
Marion Jones
Andrea Joyce
Ann Meyers
Lisa Malosky
Ahmad Rashād
Beth Ruyak
Summer Sanders
Hannah Storm
Paul Sunderland
Chris Wragge
Theme music composerJohn Tesh
Opening theme"Roundball Rock"
No. of seasons6
Production
Executive producerDick Ebersol[1]
ProducerMolly Solomon[2]
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time120 minutes+
Production companyNBC Sports
Release
Original networkNBC
Original releaseJune 21, 1997 (1997-06-21) –
August 31, 2002 (2002-08-31)
Chronology
Followed byWNBA on ABC
Related showsNBA on NBC

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

NBC showed Women's National Basketball Association games from 1997 to 2002 as part of their NBA on NBC[3][4] coverage before the league transferred the rights[5] to ABC/ESPN.[6][7][8]

Background

On June 27, 1996, NBC Sports was announced as the WNBA's first national broadcaster.[9] The WNBA soon, also had television deals in place with the Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation joint venture channels, ESPN and Lifetime Television Network, respectively. At the time, NBC didn't pay television rights fees[10][11] to the league's teams.

NBC[12] nationally televised the very first[13] WNBA game on June 21, 1997. The game featured the New York Liberty facing the Los Angeles Sparks[14] in Los Angeles. For NBC's final season with the WNBA in 2002,[15] they again began their season's worth of coverage on Memorial Day weekend[16] with the Liberty[17] and Sparks.[18] NBC would proceed to televise WNBA games on Saturday[19][20][21] and Sunday[22] afternoons culminating in the Championship game on August 30.[23][24]

Music and segments

A more rock-oriented variant[25] of John Tesh's theme, "Roundball Rock" introduced by NBC to coincide with the debut of the WNBA. NBC's halftime report was sponsored by Lee Jeans.

Ratings

NBC Sports' broadcast of the inaugural WNBA game between the Liberty and Sparks received a 3.8 overnight national rating.[26] Although NBC's end-of-season average[27] for 1999 was even with 1998's average, viewership had actually increased from 1,540,000 households in 1998[28] to 1,607,000 in 1999. On the same token however, Nielsen ratings for NBC broadcasts of WNBA games slipped[29] from 2 million households reached in 1997—the WNBA's inaugural season—to 1.5 million in 1999.[30]

The average rating for the first 9 of the 10[31] WNBA games NBC carried in the 2001 season[32] was only 1.1, compared to a 2.0 rating its first season.[33]

WNBA Finals coverage

See also: List of WNBA Finals broadcasters

The very first WNBA season concluded with what was at the time, a single championship game. The following year, the finale series into a best-of-three games series, with NBC airing the first two games and ESPN airing the decisive third game. In 1999, ESPN aired the first game of the championship series while NBC covered the following two. Come the year 2000, Lifetime temporarily assumed ESPN's role as the WNBA's cable outlet for the WNBA Championship. Like the year prior, Lifetime broadcast the first game while NBC covered the second and ultimately decisive game between the Houston Comets and New York Liberty. This marked Houston's fourth consecutive WNBA Championship.

ESPN returned to the fold in the year 2001, broadcasting the first game with NBC airing the second and decisive game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Charlotte Sting. For NBC's final year of coverage in 2002, ESPN2 this time, broadcast the first game with NBC again covering what would become the second and ultimately decisive game. The Los Angeles Sparks' 69–66 victory over the New York Liberty on August 31, 2002, would therefore, prove to be the final broadcast of the WNBA on NBC.

Announcers

See also: List of current Women's National Basketball Association broadcasters

During the WNBA's first season on NBC, the primary announcing team consisted of Hannah Storm[34] calling the play-by-play with Ann Meyers doing the color commentary and Lisa Malosky assuming the role as sideline reporter.[35] The following year, Storm receded her lead play-by-play duties to Tom Hammond,[36] who would call NBC's coverage of the WNBA Finals with Ann Meyers in 1998[37][38] and in 2000. For the 1999 season and 2001 seasons, NBC used Mike Breen[39] as their primary play-by-play announcer. For the WNBA's final season in 2002, Paul Sunderland worked with Meyers for their coverage of the WNBA Finals.

References

  1. ^ Kent, Milton (June 28, 1996). "Deal to televise Women's NBA shows NBC as bold yet pragmatic". The Baltimore Sun.
  2. ^ Sole, Mel (March 19, 2015). "WOMEN AT THE HELM. #1 MOLLY SOLOMON MAKES GOLF HISTORY". Golf Chats.
  3. ^ Swayne, Dodds, Linda E., Mark (August 8, 2011). Encyclopedia of Sports Management and Marketing. SAGE Publications. p. 1662. ISBN 9781452266480.
  4. ^ "Gender in Televised Sports: 1989, 1993 and 1999" (PDF). la84.org.
  5. ^ Penner, Mike (December 18, 2001). "NBC Exit Strategy Begins NBA Spin". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Miller, Shales, James Andrew, Tom (May 24, 2011). Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316125765.
  7. ^ Reynolds, Mike (June 16, 2002). "ESPN's Come a Long Way, WNBA". Multichannel News.
  8. ^ "Stern Talks Smack With Rome: TV Deal And WNBA Profitability". Sports Business Daily. June 5, 2002.
  9. ^ Araton, Harvey (May 13, 2016). "The Formation of the WNBA". WNBA.com.
  10. ^ "We Got Next!". National Women's History Museum. October 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "Salary Doesn't Pay in WNBA". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Gustkey, Earl (May 29, 2000). "As W.N.B.A. Opens Its 20th Season, Key Figures Recall the First Game". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Voepel, Mechelle (June 16, 2016). "Twenty seasons later, a look back at the WNBA's first game". ESPN.
  14. ^ Lopez, Steve (June 30, 1997). "THEY GOT NEXT TIPPING OFF TO LARGE CROWDS AND GREAT EXPECTATIONS, THE HYPER-HYPED WNBA FELL SHORT ONLY ON THE COURT". Sports Illustrated.
  15. ^ Robbins, Lenn (May 24, 2002). "LIBERTY TIP OFF THEIR SEASON ON LONG, WINDING ROAD". New York Post.
  16. ^ "Three Former Longhorn Basketball Players Assigned to WNBA Teams". Big 12 Sports. April 26, 2002.
  17. ^ Howell, John (March 29, 2002). "LIEBERMAN SEES A WNBA TOWN". Hartford Courant.
  18. ^ "Starzz release schedule". Deseret News. February 1, 2002.
  19. ^ Johnson, L.C. (July 23, 2001). "HARRISON IS NOT THE ONLY WNBA BEAUTY". The Orlando Sentinel.
  20. ^ Robb, Sharon (June 18, 1998). "A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN". South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  21. ^ Levin, Gary (June 27, 1997). "WNBA scores big in ratings". Variety.
  22. ^ WNBA on NBC Promos / 1998 & 2001 on YouTube
  23. ^ Burris, Joe (June 19, 1997). "Lobo center of WNBA's attention". Boston Globe.
  24. ^ Gustkey, Earl (June 18, 1997). "Ball Is in Their Court : WNBA Takes Its Turn on Basketball Stage Starting Saturday". Los Angeles Times.
  25. ^ The WNBA on NBC Theme Song on YouTube
  26. ^ "NOW WHO WOULD'VE GUESSED THIS? WNBA TIP-OFF GETS 3.8 RATING". Sports Business Daily. June 23, 1997.
  27. ^ Lopiano, Dean (December 13, 1999). "WNBA's remarkable 1999 blows the vultures out of the sky". Sports Business Daily.
  28. ^ Shaprio, Leonard (June 18, 1998). "WNBA Has All the Angles Covered". Washington Post.
  29. ^ "A Dud of Their Own". Forbes. November 29, 1999.
  30. ^ Petrecca, Laura (October 9, 2000). "HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?". Ad Age.
  31. ^ "PLUS: BASKETBALL; W.N.B.A. Releases 1998 Schedule ..." The New York Times. January 16, 1998.
  32. ^ Isidore, Chris (August 17, 2001). "WNBA: lovable money loser". CNN Money.
  33. ^ "Catching On If Nothing Else, Wnba Is A Hit With Its TV Exposure". The Spokesman-Review. August 12, 1997.
  34. ^ The Inaugural WNBA Game on YouTube
  35. ^ "Women at Liberty to play basketball on TV". Post Bulletin. June 20, 1997.
  36. ^ 2000 WNBA WCF GM 2 COMETS @ SPARKS HIGHLIGHTS on YouTube
  37. ^ "Retro: Western Washington, Sat. Aug 29th, 1998". Radio Discussions. April 7, 2012.
  38. ^ 1998 WNBA Championship Game-2 on YouTube
  39. ^ 1999 WNBA Finals Game 2 - Liberty at Comets on YouTube
  40. ^ "Bruce Beck". NBC New York. October 21, 2008.
  41. ^ "Episode #124: Mike Breen". Brandon Steiner. July 24, 2018.
  42. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 5, 2016). "Mike Breen Becomes N.B.A. Finals Play-by-Play Fixture". The New York Times.
  43. ^ Brown, O'Rourke, Robert S., Daniel J. (2003). Case Studies in Sport Communication. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 30. ISBN 9780275975302.
  44. ^ Schlosser, Joe (June 6, 2001). "Marion Jones on NBC's WNBA team". Broadcasting & Cable.
  45. ^ Johnson, L.C. (June 8, 2001). "DAVIS' DOUBLE DUTY DRAWS BIGGER PROFILE". Orlando Sentinel.
  46. ^ "ANDREA JOYCE". NBC Sports Pressbox.
  47. ^ Meyers Drysdale, Ann (May 15, 2012). You Let Some Girl Beat You?: The Story of Ann Meyers Drysdale. Behler Publications. ISBN 9781933016870.
  48. ^ "2000 WNBA Finals - Game Two: New York Liberty v Houston Comets". Getty Images. August 26, 2000.
  49. ^ "Summer Sanders - Beg, Borrow & Deal 2". NBA.com.
  50. ^ "Summer Sanders". ESPN.
  51. ^ Johnson, L.C. (June 30, 2001). "JONES MAY LOOK TO WNBA FOR FUTURE". The Orlando Sentinel.
  52. ^ Kaplan, Don (August 3, 1999). "STORM BREWING – WILL NBC SPORTSCASTER FIT GUMBEL'S GLASS SLIPPER?". New York Post.
  53. ^ Hirsley, Michael (November 26, 1997). "NBC'S NEW NO. 1 TEAM IS COSTAS, THOMAS". Chicago Tribune.
  54. ^ "NBC's Storm to Work the W.N.B.A." The New York Times. May 15, 1997.
  55. ^ Hoffarth, Tom (February 2, 2012). "TOM HOFFARTH on MEDIA: Sunderland pushes forward in post-Laker career". Los Angeles Daily News.
  56. ^ Stickney Jr., W.H. (June 16, 2001). "Notebook: After slow break-in, Johnson getting the hang of pro game". Houston Chronicle.
  57. ^ Barron, David (June 3, 2001). "TV/Radio Notebook: No surprise as Comets draw national exposure". Houston Chronicle.
  58. ^ "Chris Wragge". CBS News. February 20, 2008.
Preceded byLeague created WNBA network broadcast partner 19972002 Succeeded byABC