NEW YORK (AP) – WNBA almost doubles its national television exposure with a multi-year agreement with CBS Sports.
CBS Sports Network will send 40 WNBA games starting next month when the season opens.
"Through our partnership with CBS Sports Network, WNBA participates in an elite lineup of premium sports programming," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "We thank CBS Sports for making such a meaningful commitment to women's basketball and to give another platform to showcase world-class athletes in WNBA."
The league, starting its 23rd season on May 24, also has a deal with ESPN to show 16 regular season's telecasts, including three on ABC. Last year, WNBA had a strong regular season with combined average ratings across ESPN2 and NBA TVs by 31
Minnesota vs. Chicago Saturday, May 25 will be the first game on the CBS Sports Network. The TV channel will use local broadcast feeds for now, like what NBA TV does in showing WNBA games. NBA TV showed 49 games last year.
"We are really happy to be a partner with WNBA, bringing the country's leading women's sports league to the CBS Sports Network. This partnership is one of the biggest and most effective women's sports programming events ever at CBS Sports, offering a national exposure of 40 games a year, "said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. "This deal brings good content throughout the summer in prime and weekends and adapts two major brands in WNBA and CBS Sports. We look forward to working with WNBA for many years to come."
CBS Executive Vice President for programming Dan Weinberg said the WNBA was exactly what CBS sought to strengthen its schedule.
"We are looking for partners with established brands that grow with dedicated fan bases," he said in a telephone interview. "WNBA controls each of these boxes. (Games in) Spring Summer makes up our programming plan. We speak clearly and clearly about the best basketball players in the world at the highest level. Affiliation with WNBA, it is a great strong brand with popularity across the country. "
The pages still discuss expanding coverage to include features and other WNBA programming.
"It's going to be beyond the highlights," said David Denenberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media Distribution and Business Affairs for NBA Entertainment. "Whether it's functions we develop or CBS develops, we'll do more."
It is unclear how WNBA will decide which games are coming to air on ESPN or CBS forward after this year. The league didn't seem too worried.
"It is enough to say that we have enough games, we think we will put together a robust schedule for everyone," says Denenberg. "We will announce the CBS schedule, ESPN schedule. I think we should well serve all our partners."
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