ESPN expands WNBA coverage

US sports broadcaster ESPN has expanded its coverage of the 2020 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) campaign by adding an additional 13 regular-season games.

The additions bring the total number of 2020 games to 37, with the new slate of games to be available across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, as well as the ESPN app.

Each WNBA team will now appear at least four times on ESPN throughout the 2020 regular season, which got underway at the weekend. The opening game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury averaged 540,000 viewers, making it the most-watched season opener since 2012.

All WNBA games are being played without fans at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The condensed regular season is set to conclude on September 12 before the playoffs get underway.

The 2020 season was due to start in May but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. ESPN covered the WNBA Draft back in April, with the event enjoying a significant ratings boost amid the dearth of any competing sports broadcasts due to the Covid-19 shutdown.

The event was shifted to a virtual format and averaged 387,000 viewers on ESPN, which was up 123 per cent over the 2019 Draft on ESPN2 and ESPNU.