The WNBA is one of the few sports to see its television ratings increase during the pandemic. That trend carried through the playoffs and seemingly into this season as the league posted historic opening weekend ratings. The league’s doubleheader on ABC produced the second and third most-watched regular-season games on record.
Saturday’s Sky-Mystics WNBA regular-season game averaged 611,000 viewers and a 0.39 rating on ABC, tallying the WNBA’s largest regular-season television audience in nine years — since Lynx-Mercury on the opening weekend of the 2012 season, also on ABC (804K). Before this weekend, the high was 599,000 for a Wings-Mercury ABC game last summer.
The Chicago Sky is shaping up to be a big draw this season. They tout one of the game’s best players in hometown hero Candace Parker and they call one of the country’s biggest media markets home. Parker’s victorious 70-56 Sky-debut on Saturday is the most-watched WNBA game of any kind since the 2018 All-Star Game (709K) and rolled over every WNBA Finals game since Game 5 of the 2017 series (902K). Last year’s top Finals game, Seattle’s series clincher in game three against Las Vegas, averaged 570,000 viewers on ESPN.
Saturday’s package of games was the first time ABC had ever broadcasted a doubleheader on its network after carrying the league’s games since 2003.
The finale pitted last year’s finalists against each other in a battle between the Aces and the Storm as Las Vegas got revenge 96-80. The contest averaged a 0.39 rating and 598,000 on ABC — the league’s third-largest regular-season audience since 2012. The average of 605,000 for Saturday’s doubleheader surpassed last year’s opening weekend games by 25%.
The league has experimented with different playing formats over the past few years to boost its popularity. The innovations have included a revamped playoff format and The Commissioner’s Cup. This is an in-season competition that designates a portion of regular-season games in the first half of the season — 10 per team, 60 total — to count toward Cup standings. The Cup prize money totals $500,000.
Vince McMahon: ‘I Wish I Could Have Beaten Up Bob Costas’
“Apparently, Vince has an enemy in Bob Costas.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s in-ring persona often is the same as it is in real life. Mr. McMahon can be brash, intimidating and command your attention. As a businessman, it’s also no surprise that he’s probably made a few enemies along the way, whether it be through business or in media.
Apparently, Vince has an enemy in Bob Costas. But that’s not earth-shattering considering part of his job is making enemies.
McMahon’s disdain for the former NBC broadcaster stems from a 2001 interview the two did on Costas’s HBO show, where Costas appeared to do everything right to push Vince’s buttons.
A transcript provided to the New York Post from a Jim Miller book called Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers details just how Costas managed to get under McMahon’s skin.
“Once we were doing the interview, he kept interrupting me and interrupting me, and bringing up topics that had nothing to do with what we were supposed to be talking about,” McMahon said.
Vince McMahon referred to Costas as “pompous” and was even quoted as saying he’d have laid hands on Costas had he not been so small.
“I wish he wasn’t 5-feet high and 140 pounds. If he was 6-5 and 295, he would deserve to get the shit beat out of him,” McMahon said. “I could have really given them some great television.”
The Post notes that the two were able to conduct a more civil interview a year later, but it seems like once you cross a boss like Vince McMahon, there’s no way to get back in his good graces.
Canadian Sportscasting Icon Brian Williams to Retire
“TSN plans to honor the career and achievements of Williams prior to kickoff of the Grey Cup.”
A Canadian broadcasting icon is set to call it a career following this year’s Grey Cup on Dec. 12.
Brian Williams has spent the majority of his career between the nation’s biggest broadcasting companies, CBC, CTV and TSN. The largest chunk of his career was spent from 1974-2006 with CBC.
Williams is a 2010 inductee into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame Football Reporters Wing and has covered some of the world’s biggest sporting events including the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.
“Over the course of the last 50 years, I’ve been fortunate to cover so many great athletes and amazing events, both at home and abroad. I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all,” Brian Williams said in a statement.
TSN plans to honor the career and achievements of Williams prior to kickoff of the Grey Cup.
Beth Mowins To Become 1st Woman To Call NBA Game For ESPN
“The NBA is now the third major professional sports league where she has made history.”
Beth Mowins has a habit of making history in the broadcast business. Her latest feat worth celebration will come on Friday when Mowins becomes the first woman in the history of ESPN to call play-by-play for a regular season NBA Game.
The network sent out a press release on Thursday announcing the assignment. She will work with Jeff Van Gundy as her analyst when the Philadelphia 76ers visit Atlanta to take on the Hawks. Cassidy Hubbrth will serve as sideline reporter.
ESPN tweeted out an image to show all that Beth Mowins has done. The NBA is now the third major professional sports league where she has made history.
Mowins won’t be the only woman calling the game that night. Kate Scott is in her first year as the play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia 76ers.
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