ESPN Extends WNBA TV Rights Deal

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In its 11th season, the Women's National Basketball Association’s current tag line asks, “Have You Seen Her?”

Well, women’s pro-hoops fans are going to get a chance to see action well into the next decade as the NBA's distaff circuit reached an eight-year renewal with ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

Spanning the 2009-16 seasons, the agreement -- announced Sunday in Washington, D.C., the site of the league’s All-Star Game, where the East withstood a frantic West rally to win 103-99 -- marks the first time the WNBA has received rights fees for its national contests, according to AP.

The renewal -- the current deal ends after the 2008 campaign -- will push ESPN's and ABC’s ties to the league, which tipped with the 1997 inaugural campaign, to 20 years.

Similar to the long-term deal ESPN and ABC reached with the NBA last month, the WNBA agreement affords Disney properties enhanced digital rights, including the ability to stream its games live on a live, delayed and on-demand basis, on outlets including ABC, ESPN, ESPN.com, ESPN360 and ESPN Mobile TV. Moreover, ESPN Deportes will continue its live simulcasts of ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 games through 2016.


ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 will televise on an exclusive basis a minimum of 18 regular-season games, primarily on Mondays, Tuesdays and weekend afternoons. Each season opening game and the WNBA All-Star Game will air on the alphabet network. The three networks will combine to televise 11 postseason games, including the exclusive telecast of the best-of-five WNBA Finals. ESPN or ESPN2 will also have exclusive coverage of the first round of the WNBA Draft each season.

.In addition, NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour network, will continue to televise games, including 70 regular-season games and up to nine playoff tilts for the current campaign.

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