WNBA Draft pulls in big TV numbers on ESPN

(Evan Yu/Just Women’s Sports)

The WNBA Draft’s stock is up, with this year’s edition pulling in the most viewers since 2004.

On average, 403,000 viewers tuned into ESPN for the draft on Monday night, marking a 20 percent increase from 2021. Coverage peaked at 463,000 viewers.

The draft returned to a live, in-person event for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The draft was held in primetime at 7 p.m. ET on Monday.

This year’s WNBA draft outdrew the 2021 NHL Draft, which averaged 268,000 viewers on ESPN2, up 3 percent from the 2020 NHL Draft on NBCSN (261,000 viewers).

The WNBA’s ratings success continues a trend of increased viewership across women’s basketball and women’s sports as a whole. The NCAA basketball championship game between UConn and South Carolina, which peaked at nearly 6 million viewers on ESPN, was the most-watched NCAA title game since 2004.