According to a press release from ESPN, viewership of the 2020 WNBA Finals was significantly higher than that of the 2019 Finals, both through the series’ first three games and in their respective elimination games:
ESPN’s coverage of the Seattle Storm’s championship-clinching victory in Game 3 of the 2020 WNBA Finals was up 34% year-over-year over Game 3 of the 2019 WNBA Finals—averaging 570,000 viewers—and up 27% over the Washington Mystics’ Game 5 championship win last year.
The 2020 WNBA Finals between Seattle and the Las Vegas Aces averaged 440,000 viewers for the three-game series, up 15% over the 2019 WNBA Finals through Game 5 and up 14% over last year through Game 3.
The news comes shortly after a pre-Finals press conference with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, who cited both a 30 percent increase in cross-platform action for social media posts and a 68 percent increase in regular-season viewership across all networks.
Interestingly, many other professional sports leagues in America have not seen similar boosts in viewership.
In fact, Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals took a 45 percent hit in viewership relative to 2019, pulling its lowest number of viewers since 1994. Meanwhile, the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals were the NHL’s least-watched since 2007, with viewership falling 61 percent from the previous season. Still more leagues, such as MLS and MLB, have struggled as well.