WNBA Finals on ESPN Photo credit: ESPN

The WNBA season came to a close Wednesday night with an exhilarating finish, but fans were almost shutout of seeing it because of a glitch on ESPN.

For the first time since 2002, a WNBA team has won back-to-back titles with the Las Vegas Aces securing their second consecutive championship, beating the New York Liberty on the road in Game 4 of the Finals. Leading by one point with 20.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Aces head coach Becky Hammon called a timeout to reset her offense.

Instead of going to commercial, ESPN stayed with the broadcast led by play-by-play voice Ryan Ruocco and analyst Rebecca Lobo. And for about 50 seconds, viewers of the exciting WNBA Finals Game 4 were left to wonder whether the timeout was ever going to end.

While providing analysis during the timeout, Lobo noted how the Aces were able to get a favorable matchup until the Liberty shut it down with help defense. “But New York, help defense comes, they did a great job of getting this late into the clock,” Lobo said. And then she said it again, and again, and again, and again, and well you get the point. It wasn’t an issue with your cable or internet, ESPN’s broadcast was stuck on a loop of Lobo analyzing Las Vegas’s late game possession for about 50 seconds. It’s unclear whether the loop ran on every platform airing the game, but it was not limited to streaming.

Finally, Ruocco’s voice entered the broadcast, signaling that ESPN was able to break free of the Groundhog Day moment. There were still 20.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter as the players walked back onto the court and the broadcast returned to real time, meaning no action was missed because of the technical difficulties. This could have been a disaster if the glitch lasted much longer and caused the national audience to miss any of the action. Thankfully, it didn’t take away from what was a great conclusion to the 2023 WNBA season.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com