The WNBA announced its national TV slate on Wednesday with an emphasis on super teams.
The New York Liberty will enter the season as championship favorites after a stellar offseason that saw them add Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vanderloot and Jonkel Jones to a roster already featuring All-Star Sabrina Ionescu. Stewart, Vandersloot and Jones are each a four-time All-Star. The Liberty is scheduled to play a league-leading 12 nationally broadcast games on the ABC and ESPN networks.
The defending champion Las Vegas Aces are ahead with a game of seven games on national TV. After securing their first WNBA title, they added six-time All-Star and two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker to their lineup. The August 6 Aces-Liberty matchup in Las Vegas will air on ABC, while the August 28 rematch in New York will be shown on ESPN2.
Griner’s scheduled debut to tip off national TV slate
The first national telecast of the season is set to feature the return of seven-time All-Star Brittany Griner after she missed last season after being imprisoned in Russia. Griner spent 10 months in Russian custody last February after allegedly carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil into the country.
The United States classified Griner as “wrongfully detained”. She returned to the United States via a prisoner exchange in December and has since vowed to return to the Phoenix Mercury lineup this season.
The Mercury made their season debut on May 19 against the Los Angeles Sparks, a game that would be televised on ESPN.
All 12 WNBA teams will get at least one turn on national TV. A Chicago Sky team that tied the Aces for the league’s best regular-season record the previous season would only be featured twice. Sky ended up on the wrong end of the high-profile player movement, while Vanderloot lost Liberty and Parker to Aces.
The WNBA also announced Wednesday that the All-Star Game will debut in primetime on ABC on July 15 and that ESPN’s ‘WNBA Countdown’ pregame show will now air before regular season games.
WNBA full schedule was announced earlier. The national TV schedule is as follows: