A Women's Hoops Podcast + More

Breaking down the 2021 WNBA national broadcast and streaming schedule

May 3, 2021

Thank you for clicking on this article! If you value our thoughtful coverage, please become a member today or support our work in other ways. Subscribers receive a monthly newsletter with deep-dive commentary or reporting, early peeks, early listens, our famous #HardScreens and a FREE sticker. Join today!

By The Hard Screen Staff

The WNBA announced on Monday, May 3, the addition of Google to its roster of Changemakers. The tech giant joins marquee partner AT&T, an inaugural Changemaker, along with Nike and Deloitte, which became inaugural Changemakers with AT&T following passage of the landmark CBA between the league and the players’ union in 2020.

With rich backing from powerful corporate sources, the WNBA is primed for greatness in 2021, the league’s 25th season. And with national broadcast deals totaling 100 regular-season games, the league announced on Monday, it should be poised to enjoy the greatest visibility it has seen since its inaugural 1997 season.

Takeaways from the 2021 WNBA national broadcast schedule  

BROADCAST PARTNERS:

  • ABC
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • CBS
  • CBS Sports
  • NBA TV

PRESENTING …

Google as the presenting partner of WNBA “25 for 25” on ESPN: 25 games broadcast on ESPN during the league’s 25th anniversary season. The “25 for 25” package includes a doubleheader on ABC during opening weekend that features reigning MVP A’ja Wilson and former MVPs Elena Delle Donne, Candace Parker and Breanna Stewart.

CBS SPORTS

Under an expanded regular-season deal, CBS Sports will broadcast 40 regular-season games.

NBA TV

NBA TV is back for a 19th straight year and is expected to broadcast 35 games.

TWITTER & FACEBOOK

Twitter will live-stream 12 games and Oculus from Facebook is partnered to live-stream 20 games. #WNBATwitterLive is the hashtag to use during games.

WNBA 2021 season schedule  

WNBA LEAGUE PASS

More than 110 games will stream on the app, which now is compatible with Apple TV and other casting devices.

OLYMPIC BREAK

The 2021 season will take a two-week hiatus from July 15 to August 11 as the USA Basketball Women’s National Team competes in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, postponed one year because of the pandemic, in pursuit of a seventh straight gold medal.

COMMISSIONER’S CUP

The WNBA resumes regular-season play with the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup, date TBD.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS FROM THE LEAGUE:

Highlights of the Broadcast Schedule for the WNBA “25 for 25” on ESPN presented by Google

  • In honor of the WNBA’s 25th season and 25 years of airing WNBA games, ESPN networks – the league’s longest-running broadcast partner – will present 25 telecasts over the course of the regular season, including three on ESPN, 12 on ESPN2, and an all-time high nine on ABC.  ESPN also will air AT&T WNBA All-Star 2021, details of which will be announced in the near future.
  • Additionally, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 will provide coverage of up to 19 postseason games during the WNBA Playoffs presented by Google and the WNBA Finals 2021 presented by YouTube TV.
  • All ESPN telecasts during the regular season and postseason will stream live on the ESPN app.
  • In addition to airing an opening weekend doubleheader, ABC will present a second doubleheader on Saturday, June 5, featuring Las Vegas at Washington (1 p.m. ET) and the return of Candace Parker to Los Angeles as the Chicago Sky visit the Sparks (3 p.m. ET).
  • In honor of the WNBA’s Inaugural Game in 1997, ESPN will televise a rematch of the Liberty at Sparks on Sunday, June 20 (4 p.m. ET), when Ionescu and New York visit L.A. and 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike.
  • ESPN will televise a matchup of the WNBA’s career points leader, Taurasi, against the league’s all-time assists leader, Bird, on Friday, July 9, when the Phoenix Mercury host the Seattle Storm (9 p.m. ET).
  • Playoff seeding could be on the line on the final day of the regular season, Sunday, Sept. 19, when Phoenix hosts Las Vegas on ABC (3 p.m. ET).

Highlights of the CBS Sports Telecast Schedule

  • The CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network will combine to carry 40 games, including up to three on CBS Television Network, with all CBS Television Network games streaming live on Paramount+.
  • CBS Television Network will feature a rematch between 2020 first-round playoff opponents Connecticut and Chicago on Saturday, June 19 when the Sun visit the Sky (2 p.m. ET), and on Saturday, June 26 will spotlight the 2019 champion Washington Mystics at Dallas, against 2020 WNBA scoring leader Arike Ogunbowale and the Wings, who made history during the WNBA Draft presented by State Farm on April 15, becoming the first team in league history to make the No. 1 (Charli Collier) and No. 2 (Awak Kuier) overall selections (1 p.m. ET). Both matchups will also be streamed live on Paramount+.
  • Following an off-season of unprecedented player movement, CBSSN will present some of the most anticipated action when stars take the court against their former teams for the first time…
  • Las Vegas’ Chelsea Gray, a three-time All-Star during her tenure with Los Angeles, will lace them up against her former team for the first time on Friday, May 21, when the Sparks visit the Aces (10:30 p.m. ET).
  • Chicago’s Candace Parker, a two-time league MVP in her 13 seasons with Los Angeles, will meet her former team for the first time on Friday, May 28 when the Sky host the Sparks (8 p.m. ET).
  • And New York’s Natasha Howard, the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time champion with Seattle, will go up against her former team for the first time when the Storm visits the Liberty on Wednesday, Aug. 18 (7 p.m. ET).

Highlights of the NBA TV Telecast Schedule

  • While NBA TV will air the very first game of the season on opening day and carry a total of 35 contests, the network will place a particular focus on the race to the playoffs, delivering 29 telecasts – more than any other national carrier – when play resumes following the in-season break.
  • NBA TV’s coverage will bracket the first part of the WNBA’s 2021 schedule when the network televises the very first game of the season (Indiana at New York on May 14 at 7 p.m. ET) and the final game before the break (Minnesota at Los Angeles on July 11 at 9 p.m. ET).

Highlights of Twitter Content

  • Twitter’s 12-game package, available via @WNBA, will feature in game commentary from basketball insiders, influencers and WNBA legends.
  • On Friday May 21, Twitter will deliver a matchup between the Atlanta Dream and the Indiana Fever (7 p.m. ET). Then on Tuesday, May 25, Twitter will spotlight the WNBA’s two most recent No. 1 overall draft selections when 2021 top pick Charli Collier and the Wings visit the Liberty and Sabrina Ionescu, the No. 1 pick in 2020 (7 p.m. ET).
  • As part of the WNBA’s effort to bring fans closer to live game action, game presentations on Twitter will incorporate fan tweets as an overlay, polls for fans to vote on certain elements of the game, and real-time engagements with the commentators in unique ways.

Highlights of Facebook Watch and Venues on Oculus Quest Content

  • Fifteen games prior to the in-season break and five when the league returns to action will be available on Facebook Watch via the WNBA Facebook page. The broadcasts will feature interactive elements that take advantage of the Facebook Watch social video platform.
  • These same games will be available in 2D through Venues on Oculus Quest headsets (both Quest and Quest 2).
  • The schedule tips off on opening night, Friday, May 14, when it carries the Dallas Wings who will be in Los Angeles to meet the Sparks (10:30 p.m. ET).
  • Coverage wraps up on Friday, Sept. 17, when Minnesota is at Indiana (7 p.m. ET).
  • A leading virtual reality platform, Oculus is an Official Marketing Partner of the WNBA and an associate partner of the WNBA’s Believe in Women platform.

WAYS TO SUPPORT THE HARD SCREEN