The WNBA’s 17th season came to a successful end from a business standpoint Thursday night.
Although the attendance of 5,000 that traveled from Atlanta to Duluth, Ga., to see the final game of the championship was a disappointment, the first two games of the Finals in Minneapolis sold out and the crowds were electric.
According to the WNBA communications department, attendance league-wide during the regular season increased, led with a 17 percent jump in Chicago with the arrival and success of rookie Elena Delle Donne. Phoenix was second at nine percent and defending champion Indiana was third at eight percent.
Television audiences also increased, jumping 28 percent, and 455,000 viewers watched the Sky’s opening day win over the Mercury, the most since 2004.
WNBA.com increased visitors by 27 percent, as well, and the Mercury’s Web site was the most popular among teams.
With the arrival of Brittney Griner, the Phoenix Mercury featured the highest ticket revenue in the league, and the team led the WNBA in road attendance. The 6-foot-8 rookie’s No. 42 jersey was the top selling one in the league, and the team as a whole was second in that department.
As Griner and Delle Donne (and who wasn’t impressed with Atlanta’s Alex Bentley in the Finals) took the torch from outgoing Tina Thompson and Katie Smith, the league will welcome Chiney Ogwumike and Meighan Simmons in 2014, a season that will prelude the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.
There is a definitive champion in the Minnesota Lynx, and it rivalries with the Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks will only flourish in the coming seasons. There are without a doubt some of the most athletic women on the planet in the league, who continue to represent it in the upmost professional fashion, and the future appears to be very bright.