WNBA inks multiyear deal with Scripps to televise Friday night games
The GIST: Fridays are officially for the WNBA. Yesterday, the league inked a multiyear agreement with Scripps to televise games nationally and regionally on Friday nights. The deal is Scripps’ first with a sports league since the company launched its new sports-specific division last December.
The broadcaster: Scripps runs numerous local TV stations across the U.S., as well as national entertainment network ION. The company expanded into sports last year and plans to strike relevant deals for both ION and its local channels.
The details: Through WNBA Friday Night Spotlight, ION will dedicate two time slots a night to WNBA games during the regular season. Scripps’ national and regional properties will promote the company’s new basketball offerings, including Scripps News and African American broadcast network Bounce.
The why: In an exclusive chat with The GIST, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the deal is “a sign that companies are valuing our content” and the league’s audience. “People who watch women's sports are more of a lifestyle viewer, not just a sports viewer. We have plenty of sports viewers too, but you [have] to appeal to a broader audience.”
Zooming out: This deal comes with more screen time and revenue for the WNBA and allows Scripps to tip off its sports division with a bang. The league not only delivers on the TV audience side but will also lift Scripps’ national visibility and cultural relevance as it charts its own rise. Talk about a win-win.