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ABC sees biggest WNBA audience with weekend double-header

The Indiana Fever-New York Liberty game peaked at just under 2 million viewers, ESPN said, citing Nielsen data.

The Indiana Fever-New York Liberty game peaked at just under 2 million viewers, ESPN said, citing Nielsen data.

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ABC’s telecast of a weekend double-header involving four Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) teams drew some record numbers to the broadcast network.

The Saturday match-up between the Indiana Fever and the New York Liberty pulled an average of 1.71 million viewers to ABC, with the game peaking at 1.96 million viewers, ESPN said, citing Nielsen figures.

ESPN provides production and talent services for ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Disney owns a controlling 80 percent stake in the ESPN cable network.

Despite its wide availability on free broadcast television, ABC recorded slightly lower viewership for the Indiana Fever game compared to its season opener on ESPN, which grabbed 2.1 million viewers to the cable network and streaming platforms Disney Plus and ESPN Plus last week.

Still, ESPN said the Fever-Liberty match-up was the most-watched WNBA telecast ever for ABC, with the Fever’s star player, former college basketball prodigy Caitlin Clark, generating high interest among sports fans.

The Fever game served as a good lead-in to ABC’s other WNBA event, a match-up between the Los Angeles Sparks and Las Vegas Aces, which drew an average audience of 1.34 million viewers to the network, according to Nielsen data. That game peaked with 1.55 million viewers, and was the third most-watched WNBA game on ABC ever, ESPN said.

Pre-game coverage under the “WNBA Countdown” banner saw 714,000 viewers, or 45 percent more interest compared to last year’s season average on ABC, the network said.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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