There will be 25 WNBA regular-season games broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 this season, along with the entire postseason, the league announced Thursday. With the newly expanded playoffs for 2022, the postseason could include as many as 27 games.
Nine of the games will be on ABC, including doubleheaders on each of the final two weekends of the regular season. In addition, five games will air on ESPN and 10 on ESPN2. The 25th broadcast is the All-Star Game, which hasn't been assigned a network yet, on July 10.
Games for ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 will start on Saturday, May 7, with Connecticut, which had the best record in the league last season and was led by MVP Jonquel Jones, facing New York on ESPN. On Sunday, May 8, there will be an ESPN2 doubleheader featuring Washington vs. Minnesota, which will be celebrating center Sylvia Fowles last season this year, and Seattle vs. Las Vegas. The Storm's Sue Bird is also likely playing her final WNBA season. Meanwhile, former WNBA player Becky Hammon will be in her first season as Aces coach.
"ESPN has been a stalwart broadcast partner for the WNBA for 26 consecutive years, and we are grateful they, in partnership with Google are providing significant opportunities to view WNBA games in 2022," WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. "From tip-off weekend through our expanded postseason, ESPN and Google are continuing to serve our growing fan base and providing an enormous national platform for WNBA players and fans."
The complete television and streaming schedule, including a combined 40 games on CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network, as well as additional offerings from NBA TV, Prime Video and Facebook Watch, will be unveiled at a later date.
"When we became a WNBA Changemaker last year, our first goal was to increase the amount of women's sports content available across broadcast and digital, and we're proud of what we've accomplished so far in partnership with the WNBA and Disney," Joshua Spanier, global vice president of marketing for media, Google, said. "We look forward to working with them again this season as the Presenting Partner of the WNBA Playoffs to continue the push for equity and inclusion in women's sports by giving fans -- and advertisers -- more opportunities to support and recognize these amazing athletes."
Defending champion Chicago will make six appearances on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, as will Las Vegas and Seattle. Three of those Sky games will be against their foe in the WNBA Finals last season, Phoenix, on May 31, July 2 and Aug. 14.
Bird, Fowles, and Phoenix's Diana Taurasi, the league's career leaders in assists, rebounds and points, respectively, will face off in head-to-head matchups on ABC/ESPN and ESPN2. Bird and the Storm meet Taurasi's Mercury on May 14 on ABC. Fowles' Lynx face Bird's Storm on June 14 on ESPN2.
On July 4, the Los Angeles Sparks, with newly acquired center Liz Cambage, will host the Mercury on ESPN. All ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS telecasts during the regular season and postseason will stream live in the ESPN App.
"We are proud to continue our long-standing relationship with the WNBA, having been connected with the league since the very beginning of its 26-year history," said ESPN's Matt Kenny, vice president, programming and acquisitions. "We look forward to this season as we deepen our commitment with increased coverage of the newly expanded postseason."