May 23, 2023
Brittney Griner was met with a warm welcome from fans and fellow players in Los Angeles when she returned to the court on Friday. What she couldn't see, was the historic audience that tuned into the game at home.
The late-night Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury matchup was the most-viewed regular season WNBA game on cable in 24 years, ESPN announced.
The broadcast peaked at 1 million viewers and had 683,000 average viewers, despite the 11:20 p.m. ET start.
The game's average viewership saw a 103% increase compared to last year’s WNBA Opening Night broadcast on ESPN platforms. It's the most-viewed WNBA Opening Day on ESPN in 11 years.
The Sparks beat the Mercury 94-71 in the season opener. Griner led Phoenix with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. She shot 7-of-9 from the field in 25 minutes after spending 600 days away from the league and spending time in a Russian jail.
Source: Yahoo Sports