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ESPN to launch first season-long WNBA fantasy game in 2022

Chicago's Candace Parker and Minnesota's Kayla McBride battle for the ball in the second round of the WNBA playoffs. (David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

ESPN announced Tuesday that it will be launching a season-long fantasy game for the WNBA, the first of its kind in major women’s sports.

Signups for ESPN Fantasy Women’s Basketball will launch in April ahead of the beginning of the 2022 WNBA season. The fantasy league will offer customizable settings for the number of teams per league, scoring formats, player rosters, public and private league options as well as ESPN+ exclusive leagues for ESPN+ subscribers.

The game, like other fantasy games, will offer analytical tools and editorial insights to help fans with their drafts, manage rosters, make trades and more. The game will be available on the ESPN Fantasy App.

The 2022 WNBA season begins in May after a 2021 season that saw exponential growth. The 2021 WNBA Finals averaged 548,000 viewers through four games – up 23 percent from 2020 and 42 percent from 2019. The regular season saw a 49 percent increase in viewership.

In early February, the league also announced a historic capital raise that reportedly raised the WNBA’s valuation to $1 billion. A recent report by Howard Megdal in Sports Illustrated, however, found that the WNBA’s valuation actually rose to $400 million, with the league not providing an on-record response into the discrepancy.

The league’s 26th season will begin on May 6.