In 1997, the WNBA was founded to provide a place for female basketball players to play after college. This recreational league has provided many opportunities for women in sports, and has had many inspiring and empowering moments in the last 20 years. Let’s explore some of these groundbreaking moments!
The first game of the WNBA was on June 21, 1997. The newly formed league saw tremendous success in attendance, with over 7,000 people in the audience for each game. They had an average attendance of 9,800 spectators per game – which is actually more than some NBA teams !!! The most successful team in the WNBA is the Minnesota Lynx, who draws an average of over 10,000 fans per game. This has not only inspired other women to step up and play basketball but also holds young girls and women out there that can look at these role models and see themselves playing this sport as well.
The first season was very exciting for league attendance, however, their first championship victory was a little lackluster. The New York Liberty defeated the Los Angeles Sparks in the first WNBA Championship, but only 1 million people tuned in to watch this game on television. In order to be successful and garner more viewership, the league had to provide media coverage so that female athlete could have their accomplishments recognized by society as a whole.
In 2009, the WNBA signed a major television deal with ESPN to air every home game the entire season. This significantly increased viewership and allowed women’s sports to be recognized as an entire instead of just a niche market. In addition, this gave other networks an incentive to include WNBA games in their broadcasting schedule. In the last few years, WNBA games have been broadcast on NBC, ABC, and NBA TV.
In 2016, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team won their fourth consecutive national title with an 80-51 victory over Syracuse – a feat that had never before been achieved in NCAA history.
In 2018, the Las Vegas Aces won their first-ever WNBA Finals championship, beating the Washington Mystics 98-80. This was also the first time that a team outside of Los Angeles or New York City has won in the league’s history. Women’s basketball is showing that it is an important part of the sports world, and has continued to provide inspiration for women.
In Conclusion, these events have shown how strong the WNBA is as a premier sporting organization for female athletes. As its viewership continues to grow, more people will see their accomplishments and look up to these role models.
Thank you for reading! 🙂