The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) experienced a historic surge in popularity, setting the highest opening month attendance in 26 years. 

From the beginning of the current season on May 14 to the end of the month, over 400,000 fans attended WNBA games, marking a milestone only surpassed by the inaugural season in 1997. More than half of all matches in May were sellouts—a 156% increase in attendance compared to the previous year.

Television viewership also saw a boost. Games averaged 1.32 million viewers across all network partners, nearly triple last season’s average of 462,000. 

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“What’s happening now in women’s basketball is confirmation of what we’ve always known: The demand is there, and women’s sports is a valuable investment,” Colie Edison, the WNBA’s Chief Growth Officer, said in a statement.

Edison expressed optimism about the league’s future, emphasizing the importance of engaging new and diverse audiences.

“We’re encouraged by growing engagement across all our verticals, especially as we welcome new and diverse audiences into our fandom,” Edison said. “The WNBA continues to experience sustained growth as our league embraces this heightened momentum.”

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A closer look at the demographics of viewers revealed that ‘Tip-off Week’ saw a 124% increase in viewership among those under 35 and a 139% growth in the number of girls tuning in. 

During the opening week, social media engagement saw four of the five most engaging moments featuring highlights from standout players like Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark, Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese, Los Angeles Sparks’s Cameron Brink, and Las Vegas Aces’ Kate Martin. 

The surge in interest extends beyond just game attendance and viewership. WNBA merchandise sales have also grown, showing a 236% increase. 

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