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Scripps Sports delivers new audience to WNBA, increases viewership with ‘Friday Night Spotlight on ION’

Nov. 8, 2023 By Rebecca McCarter

CINCINNATI – The “WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION” increased this season’s total WNBA audience by 24% — from 31.5 million unique viewers to 39 million, according to Nielsen. The 31.5 million is total viewership of all other networks combined.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) completed the first year of a multi-year agreement to televise weekly double-headers in primetime on Fridays during the 2023 regular season on ION, a national entertainment broadcast network that reaches every U.S. TV household over-the-air and on all major pay TV and connected TV services.

Other highlights of “WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION” Season 1:

  • The 23 games over 15 weeks reached a total of 12.3 million viewers.
  • WNBA on ION also added more than 6.4 million female viewers, increasing total WNBA female audience by 29%, from 14.3 million to 18.5 million.
  • WNBA on ION delivered an audience that was younger, more gender balanced and more racially diverse than a typical ION audience.
  • WNBA official partner State Farm secured entitlement for the ION Friday primetime franchise, benefiting from the reach performance and heavy promotion of “State Farm WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION.”
  • To achieve these results, after securing the new WNBA rights just five weeks prior to the tip-off of the 2023 WNBA season, Scripps implemented an innovative promotional effort across the breadth of its 41 local markets and eight national broadcast networks, including Bounce, as well as significant off-channel promotional assets delivered nationally and locally, in relevant markets.

“The WNBA and Scripps Sports partnership has proven in its first year that ION is a powerful television platform that significantly increases the audience reach of the league,” said Adam Symson, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company. “We’re looking ahead to next season to bring the athleticism and drama of the WNBA to even more fans, supported by the sponsors and advertisers that want to reach them.”

“When we partnered with Scripps Sports for the 2023 season, we were hoping their reach would drive WNBA viewership to higher heights, and Scripps overwhelmingly delivered,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “New fans found us. Faithful fans embraced the appointment viewing. This success is only going to grow in the future.”

Media contacts: Scripps – Michael Perry, (513) 259-4718, [email protected]
Investor contact: Scripps – Carolyn Micheli, (513) 977-3732, [email protected]
WNBA contact: – Ron Howard, (201) 293-1068, [email protected]


About Scripps

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.”