ESPN to launch first WNBA fantasy game of a season in 2022 – JWS
ESPN announced on Tuesday that it will launch a season-long fantasy game for the WNBA, the first of its kind in major women’s sports.
Registration for ESPN Fantasy Women’s Basketball will launch in April before the start of the 2022 WNBA season. The fantasy league will offer customizable settings for the number of teams per league, scoring formats, player rosters, league options public and private as well as exclusive ESPN+ leagues for ESPN+ subscribers.
The game, like other fantasy games, will offer analytical tools and editorial insights to help fans with their drafts, manage rosters, make trades and more. The game will be available on the ESPN Fantasy app.
The 2022 WNBA season begins in May after a 2021 season that has seen exponential growth. The 2021 WNBA Finals averaged 548,000 viewers over four games, an increase of 23% from 2020 and 42% from 2019. The regular season saw a 49% increase in viewership.
In early February, the league also announced a historic capital raise that would have raised the WNBA’s valuation to $1 billion. A recent report by Howard Megdal in Sports Illustrated, however, revealed that the WNBA’s valuation had actually risen to $400 million, with the league failing to provide a recorded response to the sideline.
The league’s 26th season will begin on May 6.