September 23, 2021 

WNBA viewership soars

WNBA merchandise sales also up 50% over 2020 season

Regular season viewership for the 2021 WNBA season is up 49% over the 2020 regular season, ESPN PR announced today. Regular season games broadcast or streamed through the ESPN family of networks averaged 306,000 viewers per game. ABC’s broadcast of Seattle Storm’s match-up with the Chicago Sky game on Aug. 15th had 755,000 viewers, the most for a regular-season game since the 2012 season.

The WNBA viewership news is positive for a league celebrating its historic 25th season. In 2020, the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Player’s Association (WNBPA) signed a landmark collective bargaining agreement (CBA). As part of the agreement, the league established a new platform, WNBA Changemakers, to attract corporate investment in the league. This season, Google became a WNBA Changemaker and sponsored 25 games on ESPN as part of the partnership.

Nike also partnered with the WNBA this season to develop a new uniform system that features three jerseys per team: the Heroine Edition, Explorer Edition and Rebel Edition. Fan interest in the new jerseys contributed to a 50% increase over last season in WNBA merchandise sales. In only her second season, Sabrina Ionescu led the league in jersey sales. Sue Bird (No. 2), Diana Taurasi (No. 3), A’ja Wilson (No. 4) and Breanna Stewart (No. 5) followed Ionescu on the list of top five most popular jerseys. The now iconic orange WNBA logo hoodie was the highest-selling item on WNBAStore.com.

The Seattle Storm led the league in team merchandise sold. The Storm were followed by the New York Liberty in second, the Las Vegas Aces in third and the Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky at fourth and fifth respectively. This season represents the first time the Sky were represented in the top team merchandise rankings since 2016.

WNBA merchandise can be purchased through WNBAStore.com and at select Nike and DICK’s Sporting Goods retailers. Earlier this week, DICK’s Sporting Goods became the official marketing partner of the WNBA.

Written by Tee Baker

Leave a Comment