Angel Reese-Caitlin Clark's 14.7 Million Night: Comparing A'ja Wilson vs. Breanna Stewart WNBA Finals Viewership


Angel Reese-Caitlin Clark’s 14.7 Million Night: Comparing A’ja Wilson vs. Breanna Stewart WNBA Finals Viewership

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The 2023 WNBA regular season marked a historic turning point in the league’s 27-year history. It exceeded all expectations, offering basketball enthusiasts an exceptional display of talent and performances. The Las Vegas Aces, reigning champions, are poised to conclude the season with another consecutive victory over Breanna Stewart’s Liberty, who are just one win away from clinching the title. The Aces showcased remarkable prowess, breaking previous viewership records in Game 1 of the Finals.

All twelve teams in the league worked tirelessly to elevate the WNBA’s standards, and the league’s media presence continues to expand. Last year’s NCAA Finals featuring Caitlin Clarke’s Iowa Hawkeyes and Angel Reese’s LSU Tigers garnered a record-breaking 14.7 million views. Now, the WNBA is following suit. According to ESPN, the 2023 season finals have garnered significant attention, making it the most successful regular season since the league’s inception in 1997.

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As per an ESPN report released on October 10, Game 1 of the 2023 WNBA Finals achieved an unprecedented level of viewership on ESPN and its affiliated networks. ESPN’s official Twitter account noted the consistent growth in statistics, with the league’s overall viewership surging by 27%, and the Finals experiencing an 18% increase in viewership.

Last year’s Finals between the Las Vegas Aces and the Connecticut Suns, with an average of 548,000 viewers, remained the most-watched Finals since 2017. This season has been marked by record-breaking viewership. The last match featured two super-teams vying for the coveted MVP and DPOY titles, leading to an average viewership of 555,000 and a peak of 872,000. This marks an 18% increase from the viewership of the first WNBA Finals game in 21 years.

Comparing NBA and WNBA Viewership: Exploring the Viewer Gap

When we compare the viewership of the NBA and the WNBA Finals, it’s evident that the WNBA lags significantly behind. However, this year’s NBA Finals left much to be desired, with only an average of 11.65 million fans tuning in. This marked a 6% decline from the previous season’s Finals, where the Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics in six games, drawing an average of 12.4 million viewers. The most-watched game of the NBA postseason, the decisive fifth game, averaged 13.08 million viewers.

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In the 2022-2033 NBA Finals featuring the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets, only 11.65 million people tuned in, which is fewer than the season’s playoffs. NBA playoff and Finals viewing figures may seem unpredictable, as the focus of the average audience tends to gravitate towards individual star players rather than the team itself. Fans are often more interested in seeing their favorite players make baskets than in the overall quality of the games played. Therefore, the NBA’s marquee stars play a crucial role in attracting viewers. Similar trends are observed in the WNBA, where a surge in viewership can be linked to the Finals matchup featuring two MVPs.

The Clash of MVPs: A’ja Wilson vs. Breanna Stewart

Despite recent growth in viewership, this year witnessed a remarkable surge in interest. While all the teams performed admirably, the dynamic duo of the Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty, represented by A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, played a pivotal role in increasing both on-court and off-court viewership. These two exceptional talents, locked in a fierce battle for the MVP title, set the stage for the excitement from the outset. Ultimately, Breanna Stewart secured the MVP award, while A’ja Wilson was recognized as the Defensive Player of the Year.

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The anticipation of this epic showdown between the two stars had been building, and when they finally met in the Finals, it triggered a thrilling upswing in viewership.


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