Most of you probably don’t know much about the WNBA, since both of my daughters played basketball at the grade school / high school level and it seems like my youngest one looks like she has the skills and determination to take it from high school to college, I have been keeping tabs on what’s going on in this league. Every now-and-then you will see some WNBA blogs coming through here and I just hope I give the women their just due.
Just recently, the WNBA has signed a six-year extension with ESPN, separate from the network’s NBA deal. Under the new deal, the WNBA will reportedly get $12 million annually through the 2022 season, according to Sports Business Daily. It seems that executives of the league and network strategically planned this campaign (3 to See) to put the spotlight on the incoming rookies Brittney Griner (Baylor), Elena Delle Donne (Delaware) and Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame).
On March 28th, the new logo was unveiled which reflects the ”the diversity and athleticism of today’s WNBA,” according to WNBA President Laurel Richie. The new WNBA visual identity is more modern — the player silhouette within the logo — the distinctive orange-and-oatmeal color scheme is a reflection of the league’s iconic game ball.
Up to 30 live games will be televised on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 each season, including exclusive telecasts of the WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile.
“Our enhanced television agreement reflects ESPN’s extraordinary commitment to women’s sports and to the WNBA,” said Richie. “The extension has been a catalyst for the WNBA and ESPN to bring forward fresh thinking ideas to better showcase our players, our game and our league.”
“We are thrilled to extend our agreement with the WNBA, a dynamic relationship that will extend over two decades,” said Skipper. “This strengthens ESPN’s commitment to the league and helps solidify us as the home of women’s sports content.”
Under the expanded agreement, ESPN and the WNBA are exploring a host of enhancements, all designed to give fans greater access and new perspectives on the game:
- Referee Cam – special mini-cameras worn by referees during select games give fans an official take on the action
- Look Ins – new level of access to practices, shoot arounds and locker rooms pregame and during halftime provide close up look game day preparation
- Current and former NBA Player Commentators – a player’s perspective of the women’s game.
This increased access comes during what will undoubtedly be a breakout year for the WNBA as the league welcomes a highly touted draft class. ESPN’s WNBA schedule tips off on Monday, May 27 featuring a doubleheader and an in-depth look at the 2013 “3 to See’s” transition from college to the WNBA.