The WNBA released its 2015 regular season schedule earlier Thursday. Let's take a look at the national television schedule, which for now is only on ESPN2:
|Day||Date||Visitor||Home||Local Time||Time (ET)||Network|
|Sun.||14-Jun-15||Chicago||Indiana||1:00 PM||1:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Sun.||14-Jun-15||Minnesota||Phoenix||12:00 PM||3:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Tues.||23-Jun-15||Los Angeles||Washington||8:00 PM||8:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Tues.||30-Jun-15||New York||Chicago||7:00 PM||8:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Tues.||7-Jul-15||Tulsa||Atlanta||8:00 PM||8:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Tues.||21-Jul-15||Phoenix||Los Angeles||7:00 PM||10:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Tues.||28-Jul-15||Chicago||Phoenix||7:00 PM||10:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Tues.||Aug. 4, 2015||Minnesota||Los Angeles||7:00 PM||10:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Sun.||Aug. 9, 2015||Phoenix||Chicago||12:00 PM||1:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Sun.||Aug. 16, 2015||Indiana||Phoenix||4:00 PM||7:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Sun.||Aug. 30, 2015||Phoenix||Minnesota||6:00 PM||7:00 PM||ESPN2|
Dates from the WNBA's press release.
And below is a list of each team and how many times they will be on ESPN2 for the 2015 season:
It is not surprising that the Phoenix Mercury, the defending 2014 WNBA champions, will be on six times on ESPN2, given their talented starting five which is headlined by guard Diana Taurasi and third-year center Brittney Griner. The Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky will be on three times each, and both teams are also among the most talented in the league.
Another interesting thing is that there are three teams: the Connecticut Sun, San Antonio Stars, and Seattle Storm, which will not be on national TV at all this season, at least when it comes to ESPN2 appearances. This is the first time I remember that there will be some WNBA teams with no appearances on the four letter network, at least from the past several years. It should also be noted that both the Sun and Storm were lottery teams in 2014, while the Stars will be playing their first season without Becky Hammon.
While there is an interest in making sure that each team gets on national TV once, especially in a non-Big Four league like the WNBA, there are also teams that the national audience at large want to see more than others. Therefore, I don't have a problem with some teams not being on ESPN's networks at all, though I will say that I don't know if all three of these teams should be without national television appearances, especially the Stars.
That said, I am not a believer of the "everyone is a winner" mentality. After all, I don't believe that every WNBA team should be represented in the All-Star Game as sympathy picks, like in 2014 when Sue Bird and Ivory Latta were "conveniently" picked as injury replacements. This was because they played on teams that would otherwise have had no All-Stars, starters or reserves.
But as the 2015 season wears on, if the Sun, Stars, and/or Storm start performing at a very high level, it will also be interesting to see if they get flexed in while underperforming teams get flexed out.
The schedule of NBA TV games will be released on a future date.