NEW YORK, May 3, 2021 - The WNBA's 25th season, which will include a 32-game schedule for each team, will feature 100 national telecasts across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS Television Network, CBS Sports Network and NBA TV.
A link to the current national television schedule, as well as to games to be streamed on Twitter, Facebook Watch, and Oculus from Facebook, can be found here.
Google, recently announced as a premier supporter of the league as a WNBA Changemaker, as well as an Official Technology Partner and the WNBA's Official Trends and Fan Insights Partner, will be the presenting partner of the WNBA on ESPN. Google has collaborated with ESPN and the WNBA to deliver "25 for 25", a 25-game schedule of telecasts across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 in celebration of the WNBA's 25th season.
In addition, as part of the commitment of CBS Sports to the WNBA, the network and the league, which first partnered in 2019, have announced a multi-year extension of their relationship through which CBS Sports will present WNBA regular-season games, including 40 contests this season, featuring up to three games on the CBS Television Network that will also stream live on Paramount+.
NBA TV, now in its 19th consecutive year of carrying WNBA games, will feature 35 games during the 2021 season.
In 2021, the WNBA and partners Twitter and Facebook will continue to deliver programming to fans via alternative live streaming platforms. As Twitter and the WNBA enter the fifth year of their partnership, Twitter will offer a 12-game slate on #WNBATwitterLive, as well as real-time game highlights and post-game interviews. #WNBATwitterLive will also deliver top voices from the sports community and several new ways for fans to engage, including fan Tweets, Q&As, votes and trivia. Facebook, now in its second straight year as a provider of WNBA game action, will present 20 games available on both Facebook Watch and Venues on Oculus Quest.
WNBA League Pass also returns this season offering over 110 games.
"Providing significant opportunities to view WNBA games across traditional and streaming platforms drives expanded coverage to our growing fan base," said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. "Our goal is to deliver as many WNBA games and content to our passionate fans and supporters across platforms that best match the evolution of content consumption. Also, we are grateful to Google and ESPN for collaborating on "25 for 25" and we will continue to look for ways to innovate and shape the future landscape of the fan experience."
The WNBA will tip off its landmark 25th regular season in the national spotlight on Friday, May 14, with a weekend of action featuring all 12 teams.
The national telecast schedule gets underway on opening day when NBA TV presents Sabrina Ionescu, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020, and the New York Liberty hosting the Indiana Fever and Kelsey Mitchell, the WNBA's sixth-leading scorer last season (7 p.m. ET). Following that game, the action shifts to CBSSN, which will highlight Diana Taurasi, the league's all-time points leader, and the Phoenix Mercury visiting the Minnesota Lynx, led by back-to-back WNBA Rookie of the Year winners Napheesa Collier and Crystal Dangerfield (9 p.m. ET). In addition on opening day, Twitter will deliver a matchup of two of the league's top scorers in 2020 as DeWanna Bonner and the Connecticut Sun visit Chennedy Carter and the Atlanta Dream, whose roster also features Aari McDonald, the No. 3 overall pick in the recent WNBA Draft presented by State Farm® (7:30 p.m. ET). The final game on opening day is when Facebook carries the WNBA head coaching debut of Vickie Johnson, whose Dallas Wings with 2020 leading scorer Arike Ogumbowale will be in Los Angeles to meet the Sparks, led by a pair of former All-Stars, sisters Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike (10:30 p.m. ET).
The national focus returns Saturday, May 15, with an ABC doubleheader. The spotlight will first shine on two-time league MVP Candace Parker, who will make her debut with the Chicago Sky at Washington against former MVP Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics (1 p.m. ET). Immediately following that game, ABC will turn its attention to Seattle, where reigning WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart, 11-time All-Star selection Sue Bird and the defending champion Storm will receive their championship rings prior to hosting the Las Vegas Aces, led by 2020 regular-season MVP A'ja Wilson and newly acquired All-Star Chelsea Gray (3 p.m. ET).
Opening weekend wraps up with a pair of games on CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) on Sunday, May 16, as the Liberty and Fever will face each other again, this time in Indiana (2 p.m. ET), and the Mercury will visit the Connecticut Sun (7 p.m. ET).
The regular season, currently scheduled to conclude on Sunday, Sept. 19, and to be followed by a traditional playoffs and Finals format, will include a break from July 15 until Aug. 11, during which time the USA Basketball Women's National Team will be competing for its seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal.
"We have been extremely proud to collaborate with the WNBA since its inception in 1996," said Carol Stiff, ESPN vice president, programming & acquisitions, "ESPN is thrilled to continue that relationship by programming 25 games during the regular season for basketball fans in honour of the 25th anniversary of the league. We look forward to continuing our support of the WNBA's players by spotlighting both their amazing talents and their commitment to social justice on the national stage."
"We are excited to extend our partnership with the WNBA for years to come and bring high-quality basketball to fans across the nation," said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports. "The CBS Sports schedule, highlighted by two broadcast games on the CBS Television Network and three games on CBS Sports Network throughout opening weekend, will bring amazing action featuring some of the biggest names in the league to a wide audience throughout the summer. We are thrilled to be a part of the league's 25th season celebration and showcase the best players in the world on our networks."
Highlights of the Broadcast Schedule for the WNBA "25 for 25" on ESPN presented by Google
· In honour of the WNBA's 25th season and 25 years of airing WNBA games, ESPN networks - the league's longest-running broadcast partner - will present 25 telecasts over the course of the regular season, including three on ESPN, 12 on ESPN2, and an all-time high nine on ABC. ESPN also will air AT&T WNBA All-Star 2021, details of which will be announced in the near future.
·Additionally, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 will provide coverage of up to 19 postseason games during the WNBA Playoffs presented by Google and the WNBA Finals 2021 presented by YouTube TV.
- All ESPN telecasts during the regular season and postseason will stream live on the ESPN app.
- In addition to airing an opening weekend doubleheader, ABC will present a second doubleheader on Saturday, June 5, featuring Las Vegas at Washington (1 p.m. ET) and the return of Candace Parker to Los Angeles as the Chicago Sky visit the Sparks (3 p.m. ET).
- In honour of the WNBA's Inaugural Game in 1997, ESPN will televise a rematch of the Liberty at Sparks on Sunday, June 20 (4 p.m. ET), when Ionescu and New York visit L.A. and 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike.
- ESPN will televise a matchup of the WNBA's career points leader, Taurasi, against the league's all-time assists leader, Bird, on Friday, July 9, when the Phoenix Mercury host the Seattle Storm (9 p.m. ET).
- Playoff seeding could be on the line on the final day of the regular season, Sunday, Sept. 19, when Phoenix hosts Las Vegas on ABC (3 p.m. ET).
Highlights of the CBS Sports Telecast Schedule
- The CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network will combine to carry 40 games, including up to three on CBS Television Network, with all CBS Television Network games streaming live on Paramount+.
- CBS Television Network will feature a rematch between 2020 first-round playoff opponents Connecticut and Chicago on Saturday, June 19 when the Sun visit the Sky (2 p.m. ET), and on Saturday, June 26 will spotlight the 2019 champion Washington Mystics at Dallas, against 2020 WNBA scoring leader Arike Ogunbowale and the Wings, who made history during the WNBA Draft presented by State Farm on April 15, becoming the first team in league history to make the No. 1 (Charli Collier) and No. 2 (Awak Kuier) overall selections (1 p.m. ET). Both matchups will also be streamed live on Paramount+.
- Following an off-season of unprecedented player movement, CBSSN will present some of the most anticipated action when stars take the court against their former teams for the first time…
- Las Vegas' Chelsea Gray, a three-time All-Star during her tenure with Los Angeles, will lace them up against her former team for the first time on Friday, May 21, when the Sparks visit the Aces (10:30 p.m. ET).
- Chicago's Candace Parker, a two-time league MVP in her 13 seasons with Los Angeles, will meet her former team for the first time on Friday, May 28 when the Sky host the Sparks (8 p.m. ET).
- And New York's Natasha Howard, the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time champion with Seattle, will go up against her former team for the first time when the Storm visits the Liberty on Wednesday, Aug. 18 (7 p.m. ET).
Highlights of the NBA TV Telecast Schedule
- While NBA TV will air the very first game of the season on opening day and carry a total of 35 contests, the network will place a particular focus on the race to the playoffs, delivering 29 telecasts - more than any other national carrier - when play resumes following the in-season break.
- NBA TV's coverage will bracket the first part of the WNBA's 2021 schedule when the network televises the very first game of the season (Indiana at New York on May 14 at 7 p.m. ET) and the final game before the break (Minnesota at Los Angeles on July 11 at 9 p.m. ET).
Highlights of Twitter Content
- Twitter's 12-game package, available via @WNBA, will feature in game commentary from basketball insiders, influencers and WNBA legends.
- On Friday, May 21, Twitter will deliver a matchup between the Atlanta Dream and the Indiana Fever (7 p.m. ET). Then on Tuesday, May 25, Twitter will spotlight the WNBA's two most recent No. 1 overall draft selections when 2021 top pick Charli Collier and the Wings visit the Liberty and Sabrina Ionescu, the No. 1 pick in 2020 (7 p.m. ET).
- As part of the WNBA's effort to bring fans closer to live game action, game presentations on Twitter will incorporate fan tweets as an overlay, polls for fans to vote on certain elements of the game, and real-time engagements with the commentators in unique ways.
Highlights of Facebook Watch and Venues on Oculus Quest Content
- Fifteen games prior to the in-season break and five when the league returns to action will be available on Facebook Watch via the WNBA Facebook page. The broadcasts will feature interactive elements that take advantage of the Facebook Watch social video platform.
- These same games will be available in 2D through Venues on Oculus Quest headsets (both Quest and Quest 2).
- The schedule tips off on opening night, Friday, May 14, when it carries the Dallas Wings who will be in Los Angeles to meet the Sparks (10:30 p.m. ET).
- Coverage wraps up on Friday, Sept. 17, when Minnesota is at Indiana (7 p.m. ET).
- A leading virtual reality platform, Oculus is an Official Marketing Partner of the WNBA and an associate partner of the WNBA's Believe in Women platform.