On Saturday, July 25, the WNBA will tip-off with back-to-back days of national triple-header telecasts across ABC, ESPN, and CBS Sports Network. The spotlight will be focused on the league’s brightest stars as they bring women’s basketball back with an opening weekend dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement.
During the opening weekend, when all 12 teams will be in action, all aspects of the game and player outfitting will be designed to affirm Black Lives Matter and honor victims of police brutality and racial violence.
“As we build on the momentum for women’s sports and the WNBA from last season, we’re incredibly grateful to our broadcast partners who have shown a continued commitment to bringing the WNBA to fans across the country on their biggest platforms,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “This 2020 WNBA season will truly be one unlike any other, and we’re looking forward to using our collective platform to highlight the tremendous athletes in the WNBA as well as their advocacy for social change.”
The league’s 24th season will take place in Bradenton, Florida at IMG Academy, the Official Home of the 2020 WNBA season, and will include a 22-game schedule for each of its 12 teams. The schedule is highlighted by 24 national telecasts across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, including 12 doubleheaders during the first half of the season. Additionally, CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network will offer 40 telecasts, including 11 doubleheaders and a tripleheader. This year will mark the first time that CBS will broadcast a game on the CBS Television Network, and the remaining games will air on CBS Sports Network. Other games slated for NBA TV, as well as games available on WNBA League Pass, will be announced in the coming weeks. Regular-season play is currently scheduled to conclude on Saturday, Sept. 12, and be followed by a traditional playoffs and Finals format.
WNBA Tip-Off 2020 presented by AT&T gets underway on July 25 with 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart and the Seattle Storm meeting 2020 No. 1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty (12 p.m. ET, ESPN). That game will be followed by a matchup of All-Star-laden teams when the Los Angeles Sparks, led by Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, tip off against Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury (3 p.m. ET, ABC). A matchup of the Indiana Fever vs. the defending champion Washington Mystics rounds out the first day of action (5 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network).
Triple-header coverage on Sunday, July 26, tips off at 12 p.m. ET (ESPN) when the Connecticut Sun, which returns to the court after reaching the WNBA Finals in 2019, faces the Minnesota Lynx. The Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces will follow at 3 p.m. ET (ABC) in a rematch of teams that battled to a thrilling, last-second finish in the second round of the playoffs a year ago. A clash between the Dallas Wings and Atlanta Dream will then cap the day (5 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network).
WNBA Tip-Off 2020 presented by AT&T also will highlight the league’s new social justice platform, The WNBA Justice Movement, with a special focus on the Black Lives Matter movement. During the national triple-header telecasts on July 25-26, team uniforms will display Breonna Taylor’s name as WNBA players raise awareness and seek justice for the women and girls who have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence. Players will individually have the option to continue to wear the placard with Breonna Taylor’s name for subsequent games. Additionally, throughout the season, players will wear warm-up shirts that display “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back. “Black Lives Matter” will also be prominently displayed on courts during games.
“We are beyond excited to have the WNBA resuming play on our family of networks with a 24-game regular-season slate,” said Carol Stiff, ESPN’s vice president of programming and acquisitions. “Our continued collaboration with the WNBA has resulted in a schedule that features every team in the league, three appearances by the reigning champion Washington Mystics and the professional debut of No. 1 draft pick Sabrina Ionescu, all further spotlighting the amazing talent that is the WNBA.”
“The WNBA features some of the best basketball in the world and we look forward to another fantastic season of the WNBA on CBS Sports Network,” said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports. “We are pleased to expand our partnership this season and schedule a game on CBS, as we broaden the reach, bringing the tremendous talent of the league to an even bigger audience. Our 40-game slate, offering national exposure of each game, is very strong, highlighted by young stars and legends, and we are excited to showcase them on CBS Sports.”
Highlights of the ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 Telecast Schedule
- ESPN networks will present 24 regular-season telecasts during the first half of the season – including three games on ABC, six on ESPN, and 15 on ESPN2 – and up to 19 playoff games. ESPN game coverage for the second half of the season will be released at a later date.
- All ESPN telecasts during the regular season and postseason will stream live on the ESPN app.
- ABC, in addition to airing a pair of games on opening weekend, will feature Seattle vs. Phoenix on Saturday, Aug. 8 (3 p.m. ET).
- Los Angeles’ Seimone Augustus, who won four WNBA championships with Minnesota, will meet her former team for the first time on Sunday, Aug. 9 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
- ESPN will highlight four-time All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith and her new Phoenix teammates, when she squares off against her former team, Dallas, for the first time on Monday, Aug. 10 (7 p.m. ET).
Highlights of the CBS Sports Telecast Schedule
- CBS Sports will air 40 regular-season telecasts, including one on CBS Television Network and 39 on CBS Sports Network.
- CBS Sports’ coverage will include 11 games featuring Ionescu’s Liberty squad and seven games taking place during the final week of the season.
- Dallas will appear on CBS Sports Network 10 times; Los Angeles and Seattle will each appear seven times.
- On Saturday, August 29 (4 p.m. ET, CBS Television Network), Ionescu and the Liberty will take on the Las Vegas Aces and two-time league scoring leader Angel McCoughtry.
- On Wednesday, Aug. 26 (10 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network), DeWanna Bonner, now of the Connecticut Sun, will tip off against her former team, the Phoenix Mercury, for the first time after winning two championships in 10 seasons with Phoenix.
The 2020 WNBA Season will mark the second season of the league’s multiyear marquee sponsorship with AT&T. Throughout the season, inaugural WNBA Changemaker AT&T and the WNBA will collaborate on programming to support women in sports and continue to fight for equality for all. As part of the landmark sponsorship, AT&T will be integrated into WNBA.com, the WNBA app, and WNBA social channels as well as with broadcast partners ESPN networks, CBS Sports Network and NBA TV. As a WNBA Changemaker, AT&T will be featured along with Deloitte and Nike on the newly created apron placement designated for WNBA Changemakers. Additionally, AT&T will appear on the backboards throughout the season.