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The WNBA just had its most-watched games ever


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The WNBA just had its highest-attended opening month in 26 years, fueled by a powerhouse rookie class with the likes of Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese.

The league also said Monday it had its most-watched start of the season games ever across all six networks that broadcast matches — ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, ION and NBA TV.

Women’s basketball is experiencing a boom thanks to the phenomenon around WNBA rookie Clark. The NCAA women’s basketball National Championship matchup between Clark’s alma mater the Iowa Hawkeyes and the South Carolina Gamecocks earlier this year drew 18.9 million viewers, smashing television ratings records. Since then, her entry to the WNBA, along with other players like Reese, has kicked off a new era in the league. Clark’s professional debut in May drew the largest WNBA audience in two decades.

People of color and young people are turning to the WNBA with interest. Viewership grew 60% year-over-year among people of color, the WNBA said, with huge jumps in Hispanic and Black audiences, who represent most of the group. The league’s Tip-Off week had a 139% increase in young girls watching.

“What’s happening now in women’s basketball is confirmation of what we’ve always known: The demand is there, and women’s sports is a valuable investment,” said Chief Growth Officer Colie Edison in a press release.

Outside of Clark, who plays for Indiana Fever, and Reese, who plays for Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Sparks’s Cameron Brink and Las Vegas Aces’ Kate Martin are attracting more fans, who average 1.32 million a game on the networks. (In contrast, last year averaged 462,000 viewers per game.)

And though the season has recently begun, the WNBA said it has had about 400,000 fans who have attended games in its arenas so far, the most first-month attendance in more than two decades.

Tick Pick, an online ticketing site, reported a 435% increase year over year in total tickets sold for WNBA games in May, with the average price of the tickets increasing 60%. Indiana Fever had a whopping 4,493% increase in May tickets sold.

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