ESPN announced details of their new WNBA fantasy product, set to launch ahead of the WNBA season beginning in May.
News of ESPN’s addition to their fantasy lineup was first reported by Kendall Baker at Axios. The move makes all the sense in the world for ESPN, which also unveiled a content series focused on the anniversary of Title IX.
From ESPN’s announcment:
ESPN Fantasy will introduce next month ESPN Fantasy Women’s Basketball, the first full-scale, season-long fantasy game dedicated to a major women’s sport. The game will be open for signups in early April ahead of the start of the 2022 WNBA season, which tips off Friday, May 6.
ESPN Fantasy Women’s Basketball will offer fans a full-scale fantasy game with customizable settings for the number of teams per league, scoring formats, player rosters, and public and private league options, as well as ESPN+ Exclusive Leagues, available only to ESPN+ subscribers.
Like other industry-leading ESPN Fantasy games, ESPN Fantasy Women’s Basketball will be supported with analytical tools and editorial insights to help fans with their drafts, manage rosters, make trades, and more.
This makes all the sense in the world, of course. In addition to the obvious synergy play here (ESPN/ABC is the home of the WNBA Finals), ESPN already has the fantasy architecture in place to make this thing happen. And yet, it hadn’t until now. In fact none of the major season-long fantasy sites offered this option. A reddit thread from last week noted that there weren’t many options outside of the lesser-known sports.ws platform, which does deserve credit for having provided it for years.
Offering fans more ways to feel connected with a sport can only help that sport’s growth, and considering ESPN’s relationship with the WNBA, they certainly have a vested interest in helping grow that audience.