ESPN, WNBA extend TV broadcast rights deal
Michelle Clancy | 30-03-2013
ESPN and the WNBA have extended their content carriage agreement through the 2022 season. The TV broadcast rights deal will extend ESPN's relationship with the league to 26 years, dating to the WNBA's inaugural season in 1997.
The new agreement allows up to 30 live games to be televised each season on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and WatchESPN, including coverage of the playoffs, draft and All-Star Game. In addition, for the first time, ESPN will telecast the WNBA draft in prime time on 15 April.
ESPN also said it will continue to enhance its production and commitment to the sport with behind-the-scenes access to WNBA teams, players and coaches.
"This strengthens ESPN's commitment to the league and helps solidify us as the home of women's sports content," ESPN president John Skipper said. "We want to be active participants in growing the league."
WNBA president Laurel Richie also revealed the WNBA's new logo at an event announcing the deal, which marked the first time the logo had been modified since the league launched 16 years ago. Richie explained that the new logo better embodies the athleticism and diversity of today's WNBA players, while still embracing the traditional silhouette logo that fans have come to associate with both the NBA and WNBA.
"There is nothing greater than having a partnership with a company whose commitment to women's sports is deep," Richie said. "I think this is going to be a seminal season for the WNBA. This is a moment in time that I think we are poised and primed to capitalise on."
The 2013 WNBA season tips off 27 April with a doubleheader on ESPN2