ESPN announced WNBA Playoffs coverage plans on Monday, and the news came with an interesting nugget – games will have pregame shows this year.
ESPN is expanding its Countdown brand to the WNBA with WNBA Countdown on each night of action. Additionally, Hoop Streams, the digital pregame show that pops up during the NBA season, will have several WNBA editions during the playoffs.
In addition to featuring every game of the WNBA Playoffs, the Disney networks’ presentation will include WNBA Countdown Presented by Google studio shows, as well as Hoop Streams Presented by Google WNBA digital pregame shows. The first Countdown special is a 30-minute edition on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2 leading into the Liberty-Sky game. The first Hoop Streams playoffs show is Sunday, Aug. 21, from 11:15-11:45 a.m., before game 2 of the Wings-Sun matchup on ABC at noon.
All WNBA Playoffs games, up to 27 in total, will air on the ESPN family of networks. During the opening week of coverage, that includes several games on both ESPN and ESPN2, one on ESPNU, and one on ABC.
Here’s the full first round schedule, via ESPN’s release.
Mostly, I’m just surprised the WNBA Playoffs didn’t have a pregame show until now. It seems like such a natural tie-in, especially when we get pregame shows for most live sporting events on the air these days.