The WNBA posted its most-viewed playoffs since 2007, ESPN announced Tuesday.
The league saw a 22% increase in viewership over the 2021 postseason. The 23 playoff games averaged 456,000 viewers.
The opening round and semifinals saw even bigger jumps. The semifinals were up 45 percent from last year, and the first round was up 50 percent. Through those rounds, the 2022 postseason stood as the WNBA’s most-viewed since 2002.
Game 3 of the semifinal series between the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm peaked at 1.4 million viewers and averaged 905,000 viewers on ABC — the second-most viewers ever for a playoff game on ABC.
The WNBA Finals, though, faced stiff competition. Three of the four games went up against NFL games in the same time slot. Still, the opening game of the series between the Aces and the Connecticut Sun averaged 555,000 viewers on ABC, even opposite the opening Sunday of the NFL season. The second game of the series – and the only one unopposed by the NFL – averaged 649,000 viewers on ESPN.
Disney Networks score a season of viewership Ws with expanded #WNBA coverage in 2022Up over '21:☑️ Full season☑️ Postseason☑️ Semifinals☑️ Opening round☑️ Regular season☑️ All-Star Game☑️ WNBA DraftMore: https://t.co/fBnyNexJeD | #ThatsaW pic.twitter.com/OOr6Bt6Wwr— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 20, 2022
Disney Networks score a season of viewership Ws with expanded #WNBA coverage in 2022Up over '21:☑️ Full season☑️ Postseason☑️ Semifinals☑️ Opening round☑️ Regular season☑️ All-Star Game☑️ WNBA DraftMore: https://t.co/fBnyNexJeD | #ThatsaW pic.twitter.com/OOr6Bt6Wwr
ESPN networks and ABC televised 49 games over the course of the 2022 season and playoffs, and those games averaged 412,000 viewers. That number also represents a 22% increase from 2021.
The regular-season finale between the Aces and Storm on ABC averaged 852,000 viewers and peaked at 1.1 million viewers, which made it the most-viewed WNBA game across all networks since 2008 (until those same teams met in the semifinals).
ESPN’s social media department doubled its number of WNBA posts across all accounts in 2022, which resulted in 193 million video views, a 90% increase from 2021.