WNBA and Scripps Partner on Multi-Year Agreement for Friday Night Spotlight Games on ION
April 20, 2023
– WNBA becomes first property for Scripps Sports – ‘WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION’ to feature WNBA regular season games on 15 Friday Nights –
NEW YORK and CINCINNATI – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) have signed a multi-year agreement to televise games on Friday nights during the regular season on ION, a national entertainment network that reaches every U.S. TV household over-the-air and on all major pay TV and connected TV services.
“WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION” will feature WNBA games during two windows on Friday nights over 15 weeks from May 26 to Sept. 8. The Friday night schedule and windows, details of which will be announced at a later date, will include games that will be available nationally as well as games made available on a regional basis.
“The WNBA is thrilled to partner with Scripps to expand the league’s media horizon and reach basketball fans in greater numbers,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “Access to watch WNBA games is in high demand, and Scripps’ dedicated Friday night lineup of WNBA games on ION will become much desired appointment viewing for WNBA fans.”
“The WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION brings women’s professional basketball the broadest possible reach with the consistency that fans, players, teams and the league deserve,” said Adam Symson, Scripps president and CEO. “Scripps is fully committed to serving and growing the number of American women’s basketball fans who value the athleticism, professionalism and excitement the WNBA brings into their living rooms.”
The WNBA is the first sports property to air on ION, which will implement an extensive promotional effort to drive awareness and tune-in for the new Friday primetime franchise. Bounce, Scripps News and Scripps’ other popular national networks will help with cross-marketing and promotion. Scripps also will use its local TV stations to promote the “WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION” throughout the season.
“Scripps Sports was established to help leagues and teams extend their reach and connect with audiences through new distribution channels,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Scripps Sports. “We are pleased the WNBA sees the ION network as an opportunity to showcase its games with a weekly nationwide franchise designed to increase visibility and fandom for this sport. Women’s sports merits a national broadcast network that ensures every American TV household can watch these amazing athletes and their gripping game play.”
The E.W. Scripps Company, headquartered in Cincinnati, is a Fortune 1000 journalism and media company with deep local market relationships and broad national audience reach. For 145 years, Americans have turned to Scripps for objective news and information.
About the WNBA
The WNBA, which will tip off its 27th season on May 19, is a bold, progressive basketball league that stands for the power of women. Featuring 12 teams, the W is a unique sports property that combines competition and entertainment with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and social responsibility. Through its world-class athletes, the in-game fan experience, TV and digital broadcasts, digital and social content and community outreach programs, the league celebrates and elevates the game of basketball and the culture around it.
In 2020, the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) signed a groundbreaking eight-year CBA that charts a new course for women’s basketball – and women’s sports overall – with a focus on increased player compensation, improvements to the player experience, expanded career development opportunities and resources specifically tailored to the female professional athlete. Key elements of the agreement are supported through the league’s partnership platform, WNBA Changemakers, with AT&T, the WNBA’s Marquee Partner and inaugural Changemaker, as well as fellow inaugural Changemakers Deloitte and NIKE, Inc, and subsequent additions Google and U.S. Bank. During the 2020 season, the WNBA and WNBPA launched the WNBA Justice Movement forming the Social Justice Council with the mission of being a driving force of necessary change and continuing conversations about race and voting rights, among other important societal issues.
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As one of the nation’s largest local TV broadcasters, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. The Scripps Networks reach nearly every American through the national news outlets Court TV and Scripps News and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Defy TV, Grit, ION Mystery and Laff. Scripps is the nation’s largest holder of broadcast spectrum. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”