The Sports Business News is reporting that the WNBA has agreed to an eight-year rights extension through the 2016 season with ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2.
The new contract includes a minimum of 18 regular-season games to be telecast on ESPN2 (approximately one per week) and two games on ABC. The postseason on ESPN2 will include a minimum of 11 games, including the entire best-of-five WNBA Finals. All ABC and ESPN2 telecasts will continue to have time-period exclusivity. In addition, the deal includes coverage of the first round of the WNBA Draft on ESPN2 and rights to coverage on ESPN Deportes, including: live simulcast rights for all ESPN2 regular-season and post-season games, as well as all studio and specials programming; SAP rights for all ABC games; and enhanced digital media rights for ESPNDeportes.com.
Although financial terms are not discussed in this article, it has been reported that the deal did include a rights-fee, and not a revenue sharing percentage. What does it say about the state of the NHL that the WNBA received more guaranteed money than they did? Of course, it is probably not a coincidence that the NBA recently also agreed to terms with ESPN and ABC. It would not be surprising to learn that David Stern made it clear that if you take the WNBA, you will get treated better by the NBA.