Minnesota Lynx receive increased television presence for 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 20: Seimone Augustus
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 20: Seimone Augustus /

Minnesota has plenty to smile about in the first week of training camp.

Sure, their collective talent remains astounding, but they received word of an increase in television coverage for the 2017 season on Tuesday. Fox Sports North, Minnesota’s regional television partner, will broadcast 12 games this year, up from eight a year ago. The Lynx also have three confirmed telecasts on ESPN2, and there could be more on the way with an impending update to the schedule.

Minnesota’s history of winning has done wonders in attracting the local crowd, but they appreciate a stronger viewing platform on a national front.

“It’s what we’ve been asking for,” said Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve. “I think our fan base deserves it. I think our team deserves it. Let’s not hide this…the more we’re on and the more that we’re seen, the more we get to grow the game.”

Viewing data for 2016 would seemingly concur with Reeve’s assertion. Ratings for ESPN telecasts of WNBA games increased 11 percent from 2015, and overall attendance rose 4.6 percent. Those viewing trends didn’t carry over completely in the 2016 Finals, but the drama that unfolded between the Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks made for engaging conversation. Minnesota couldn’t capture a title, but their notoriety throughout the league is still intact.

“Whether they hate us or not, people want to see the Minnesota Lynx play. They want to see the big games and we’re happy to be a part of that,” said Lynx guard Seimone Augustus.

WNBA games usually don’t win ratings battles, but the news out of Minnesota is an encouraging sign for the league’s visibility.