The WNBA and ESPN have expanded their cable television agreement to bring 12 more regular-season games, plus playoff contests, to ESPN and ESPN2, and a new weekly, half-hour WNBA-themed magazine show to Lifetime Television next season.
Beginning with the start of the 2001 WNBA season and continuing through the WNBA Championship, Lifetime will air a new NBA Entertainment-produced magazine show, which highlights the on- and off-the-court lives of the WNBA’s players and coaches, on Friday evenings. Games that were formerly on Lifetime on Friday nights during the WNBA’s first four seasons will now be televised on Thursday nights (with some Sunday afternoon telecasts) on ESPN2.
‘We’re thrilled to expand our national cable partnerships,’ said WNBA President Val Ackerman. ‘Our network partners’ dedication to women’s sports and basketball has been key to the WNBA’s success, and we are delighted about the addition of games on ESPN2 and the new weekly WNBA show on Lifetime.’
‘These additional WNBA games reflect our continuing commitment to women’s sports and enhance ESPN2’s primetime lineup,’ said George Bodenheimer, ESPN president.
‘The WNBA players are great role models and an embodiment of female empowerment,’ said Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostroff, Executive Vice President of Entertainment for Lifetime Television. ‘We look forward to bringing their stories to our viewers.’
The WNBA, the premier model for women’s professional sports, will tip-off its fifth season on May 2001 and stands as the longest running women’s professional basketball league ever in the United States. The WNBA, which is composed of 16 teams and owned collectively by the 29 NBA teams, eclipsed its own total attendance record for women’s professional team sports, attracting more than 2.5 million fans during the 2000 season.
WNBA games and programming are broadcast to 158 countries in 23 different languages while the league’s 2001 national television schedule has expanded to include 32 regular season games ? 10 on NBC, 12 on ESPN and 10 on ESPN2. The 2001 WNBA All-Star Game on July 16th in Orlando will be televised nationally by ESPN.
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