WNBA finals notch highest-rated viewership since 2003

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 4: WNBA President, Lisa Borders announces Sylvia Fowles
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 4: WNBA President, Lisa Borders announces Sylvia Fowles /

The Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks faced off in the final game of the best-of-five series on Wednesday, October 4. A newly recognized rivalry between these two West teams-especially since last year’s series-has created an electrifying response with the public.

Star studded rosters filled with Olympians and WNBA all-stars make for heightened fan excitement and reflect in increasing numbers all across the board for the League.

The Lynx hosted Game Five in the Williams Arena (University of Minnesota), where the attendance totaled 14, 632.  Analyst Holly Rowe mentioned on broadcast, that even seats with obstructed views were sold in the packed arena; it was, indeed, a sold out crowd.  The 14,000+ witnessed the Lynx notch their fourth WNBA National Championship in an 85-76 (3-2 game) victory over the Sparks.

In-game attendance was stellar and ESPN released viewership ratings earlier today, which proved to be equally commendable.  As the numbers were recorded from the 8 p.m. ET ESPN broadcast, they tallied enough to mark the highest-rated WNBA Finals game since 2003.

Last year, the League saw record breaking attendance and viewership.  This year, the series “averaged a 0.5 metered market rating, up 24 percent compared to 2016,” according to Nielsen’s meter market ratings. Game five actually doubled last year’s 0.4 rating at 0.8.  From 10:45-11 p.m. ET, “the telecast peaked with a 1.1 rating” (ESPN).

The WNBA’s support has statistically and visibly been increasing as of late. Many accredit the uphill attentiveness to the new playoff system and the head-to-head contest between arguably (but almost unanimous) the best two teams in the League.

Minnesota, winning their fourth National Championship (in seven years), has now tied the Houston Comets for most titles.  The new-crowned champions will parade down University Avenue, between 12th Ave SE and Williams Arena today at 6:30 p.m. CT.