WNBA Finals Oct 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) drives past Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young (0) and guard Kelsey Plum (10) in the first half during game one of the 2023 WNBA Finals at Michelob Ultra Arena. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 WNBA season has been quite a successful one for the league, and the success is continuing through the WNBA Finals.

Despite going head-to-head with the NFL, Game 1 of the Liberty-Aces series averaged 729,000 viewers on ABC, the most-watched WNBA Finals Game 1 since 2000 (Comets-Liberty, 872,000 on Lifetime). It’s also the fourth-largest audience for a Game 1 since the league switched away from a one-and-done championship, also falling behind 1998 and 1999.

The WNBA is coming off a pretty impressive regular season. In April, the league signed a new media rights deal with Scripps, bringing Friday night games to Ion. In May, Brittney Griner’s return to the court for the Phoenix Mercury averaged 683,000 viewers on ESPN, the league’s most-watched regular season game on cable since 1999. The league also had its most-watched All-Star Game in 16 years over the summer, finished the season up 20% overall, and the WNBA Playoffs hit a 22-year high on cable.

Here’s the rest of the WNBA Finals schedule.

  • Game 2: Wednesday, October 11, 9 p.m. ET ESPN
  • Game 3: Sunday, October 15, 3 p.m. ET ABC
  • Game 4: Wednesday, October 18, 8 p.m. ET ESPN*
  • Game 5: Friday, October 20, 9 p.m. ET ESPN*

*if necessary

Game 2 will go head-to-head with at least two MLB Divison Series games, while Game 3 will go up against the NFL. A potential Game 4 will take place at the same time as Game 3 of the ALCS, while a potential Game 5 takes place on the same day as both Game 4 of the NLCS and a potential Game 5 of the ALCS.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.