( ENSPIRE Sports ) WNBA 2022 Season Shatters Viewership Records and Receives Increased Audience Engagement
ENSPIRE Contributor: Claya Davis
Peppered with record-breaking plays and outstanding competition, it is no wonder that the WNBA’s 2022 regular season received unprecedented levels of audience engagement and social media attention. Marked by a 16 percent increase in viewership across ABC, ESPN, CBS, and ESPN2, and novel levels of engagement across social media platforms and subscription services, the WNBA is receiving more attention and recognition than it has in over 14 years.
The 2022 WNBA season was so uniquely successful and inspired unprecedented audience engagement because of the extraordinary abilities of individual players and teams.
On-Court Highlights from the 2022 season:
- 2022 no. 1 pick Rhyne Howard (pictured above) becomes the first rookie since Tamika Catchings (2002) to win a Conference Player of the week honor.
- Four players in the league achieved seven triple-doubles during the regular season, which is particularly impressive because only nine had been previously recorded in the league’s 25-year history.
- Propelled by an astonishing 7.7 average three-point field goals, teams averaged 82.3 points per game, which is the third-highest in league history
- Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird became the second player in league history to score 1,000 three-point field goals, with Diana Taurasi being the first and only other WNBA player to do so.
- Playing for New York Liberty, Sabrina Lonescu eclipsed 500 points, 200 rebounds, and 200 assists, becoming the first player in WNBA history to do so during a single season.
- Minnesota Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles (pictured below) also made league history by becoming the first player to log 4,000 rebounds.
Viewership and Audience Engagement Achievements:
- There was a 16 percent increase in viewership of the regular season across ABC, ESPN, CBS, and ESPN2.
- The AT&T WNBA All-Star game averaged 734,000 viewers, which represents a 54 percent increase from the previous year and is the league’s most viewed game of its kind in over 6 years. The same event also set a record for merchandise sales, with a 50 percent increase from the next best-selling game in league history (2018).
- The viewership of the 2022 WNBA draft (presented by State Farm) was up 20 percent from 2021, averaging 403,000 viewers and becoming the most watched WNBA draft since 2004.
- Across social media platforms, @WNBA videos received nearly 186 million views, which is a 36 percent increase from the previous year.
- WNBA.com traffic increased exhorbidantly, receiving 9.2 million total views, 5.4 million unique visitors, and 23.9 million total views.
- During Seattle Storms’s Sue Bird (pictured below) last season, the team amassed the 6 highest attended games during the 2022 season. The last of these games had over 18 thousand fans in attendance and was the last of Bird’s 4-time championship-winning career.
Prior to the commencement of the 26th season, the WNBA announced that it had accrued $75 million in capital to reinvest in the league and facilitate the growth and long-term transformation of the association, which is indicative that this year’s success is likely to continue in future WNBA season.
The U.S. Bank also joined AT&T, Deloitte, Nike, and Google as a WNBA Changemaker, which is a collective of organizations that focuses on empowering women in sports and advocating for equality and diversity within the league.
After the season, on August 17th, the WNBA announced the release of their season pack, which includes game highlights and off-court content, through Roku. Fans can also access every WNBA season since 2015 on the same platform.