WNBA

Finally, bigger audiences are beginning to notice the WNBA and the Sparks

Nneka Ogwumike <span class="copyright">(Associated Press)</span>
Nneka Ogwumike (Associated Press)

Nneka Ogwumike wasn’t scheduled to talk to reporters after practice Monday, but when the Sparks forward unexpectedly stepped in front of a webcam in Bradenton, Fla., she had plenty of reasons to do it.

After a global pandemic that threatened to cancel the season, the WNBA delivered its most-watched opening weekend in years. The Sparks’ win against the Phoenix Mercury averaged 540,000 viewers on ABC. The WNBA’s bright orange hoodie, worn by athletes from LeBron James to tennis star Naomi Osaka to All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas, took over social media.

Seeing the success, Ogwumike had a simple thought: “It’s about time.”

“We’ve been saying that ‘The W’ is here,” Ogwumike said, “and hopefully now people are certainly realizing it.”

After the Sparks’ 99-76 win over the Mercury was the most-watched WNBA opener since 2012, with a 20% jump from last year’s opener, ESPN added 13 more

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