Photos via ESPN Pictures
Transcript by Rebecca Lobo/LaChina Robinson
- ESPN’s 26th WNBA season begins with Connecticut Sun at New York Liberty – Saturday at 6 p.m. ET
- ESPN2’s Mother’s Day Sunday Primetime Doubleheader Washington Mystics at Minnesota Lynx, followed by Seattle Storm at Las Vegas Aces
- WNBA on ESPN presented by Google offers 25 regular season games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 in 2022
ESPN WNBA tip presented by CarMax features a trio of games from the opening weekend of 2022, May 7-8, as many of women’s basketball’s biggest stars take to the court. ESPN’s 26th WNBA season begins Saturday at 6 p.m. ET when 2021 league MVP Jonquel Jones leads the Connecticut Sun against Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty.
On Sunday, ESPN2 offers a primetime Mother’s Day doubleheader – Washington Mystics at the Minnesota Lynx (8 p.m.), followed by the Seattle Storm at the Las Vegas Aces (10 p.m.). Shakira Austin, No. 3 in the 2022 WNBA Draft, leads the Mystics as two-time WNBA champion and the league’s all-time leading rebounder, Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx, enters her 15th and final season. Late in the game, Sue Bird, the league’s all-time leader and 12-time All-Star selection, enters her 19th active season, alongside three-time WNBA All-Star Jewell Loyd in the Storm backcourt. Under new head coach Becky Hammon, the Aces will be led by two-time All-Star and 2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson.
ESPN WNBA Tip Off presented by CarMax Schedule (May 7-8):
|Sat. 7 May||6 p.m.||Connecticut Sun at New York Liberty
Ryan Ruocco, Rebecca Lobo, Holly Rowe
|Sun May 8||8 p.m.||Washington Mystics at the Minnesota Lynx
Pam Ward, Stephanie White, Ros Gold-Onwude
|10 p.m.||Seattle Storm vs. Las Vegas Aces
Tiffany Greene, La China Robinson
ESPN commentators for the 2022 WNBA season:
- Game by game: Ryan Ruocco, Neighborhood Pam, Tiffany Green
- Analysts: Rebecca Lobo, China RobinsonStephanie White
- Reporters: Holly RoweRos Gold-Onwude, Terrika Foster-Brasby
- Hosts: Robinson, Monica McNutt and Christine Williamson
- Analysts: Caroline Peck and Andraya Carter
ESPN’s innovative presentation will once again feature live in-game audio with coaches on the mic. Players will also be mic for this season’s games on ABC.
In all, the WNBA on ESPN presented by Google the schedule in 2022 includes 25 regular season games. A year ago, the WNBA regular season averaged 306,000 viewers across all networks (ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2), a 49% increase over 2020. Additionally, half of the 10 games in the most-watched WNBA regular season on ESPN networks since 2012 aired last season, including ABC’s Seattle Storm-Chicago Sky game in August, which drew 755,000 viewers.
Reflecting the ESPN regular season and playoff schedule, a full slate of WNBA game broadcasts in Spanish will once again be available on ESPN Deportes and via ESPN3.com, including three games during Tip Off Weekend. Commentators will include the main broadcast team of Kenneth Garay and Pablo Viruegaand more.
ESPN Studio Shows/Features
In addition to this weekend’s games, ESPN studio broadcasts will highlight the WNBA Tip Off weekend. Coverage will include:
- ESPN Special Envoy Angela Rye spoke with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert on a variety of topics, including the state of the league and how the WNBA has responded to Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia. The piece airs Thursday in the 6 p.m. edition of sports center and Friday the NBA today.
- sports center NCAA women’s basketball presenter and host Elle Duncan wrote and voiced a 2022 WNBA season primer that airs this week on the flagship news and information program.
- Two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne of Mystics joins NBA today Thursday (3 p.m., ESPN).
- Breanna Stewart, two-time WNBA champion and Finals MVP, of the Seattle Storm, will be interviewed Thursday on the 11 p.m. edition of sports center.
- Sunday’s Mother’s Day doubleheader halftime will feature a special feature voiced by Rebecca Lobo that celebrates WNBA mothers, including league stars Breanna Stewart, Candace Parker, Dearica Hamby and more. The piece will highlight how all of these women balance the responsibilities of motherhood that come with being a professional athlete.
Throughout the 2022 season, the WNBA will also be part of ESPN’s Fifty/50 programming initiative commemorating the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational institution receiving federal funding, and gave women equal opportunity to play.
ESPN.com and espnW
ESPN.com and espnW will feature WNBA content throughout the season, including updated top 25 player rankings; the 25 best players under the age of 25; ranking of recruits; mid-season awards and regular profiles/features, as well as WNBA player cards, game broadcasts, game recaps/highlights, and more. Mechelle Voepel and Alexa Philippou are the principal editors of the WNBA and ESPN women’s basketball. Their weekly staples will include WNBA Power Rankings every Monday (Voepel); and a Thursday story focusing on everything a fan needs to know, from the pitch to #WNBATwitter to fantasy women’s basketball (Philippou).
ESPN.com’s Season Preview content will include:
Andscape, the black media platform dedicated to creating, highlighting and elevating the diverse stories of black identity, will feature a pair of reports from the WNBA opening weekend by the female basketball writer Sean Hurd:
- ‘It’s Showtime’: Why Nneka Ogwumike is ready for a bouncy WNBA season
- In collaboration with Getty Images and ESPN Creative Studio, Andscape chronicles the overseas experiences of four black WNBA players: Brionna Jones (Connecticut/Czech Republic), Bria Hartley (Indiana/Turkey), Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut/Turkey) and Kahleah Copper (Chicago/Spain), capturing their daily lives through photography and the personal reflections of the players. (9 May)
The 2022 WNBA season marks the debut of ESPN Fantasy’s first large-scale fantasy game dedicated to a major women’s sport. Women’s Basketball presented by State Farm is now open and ready for fans to register, create and join leagues, and prepare for their drafts in the ESPN Fantasy app and at ESPN.com/Fantasy. Release.
WNBA Hoop Stream presented by Google Digital/social pre-game shows will air live ahead of this season’s key games on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and the ESPN app, 30 minutes before the tip-off. Christine Williamson will host throughout the season with the participation of various women’s basketball analysts and experts.
Throughout the season, ESPN Social will promote upcoming games and schedules and highlight the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup standings, power rankings, fantasy updates, final score and game stats. A series digital animation will also highlight the final season and the legendary career of Sylvia Fowles.
Tips on weekend coverage plans:
- “Fan Favorites of the 2021 Season” daily posts on espnW IG Reels
- Live onsite coverage of the ESPN Connecticut Sun season opener at the New York Liberty game on May 7
- WNBA Mother’s Day footage for Sunday’s ESPN2 doubleheader
- Custom images for the WNBA Season Opener and Chicago Sky Championship Ring Ceremony