The WNBA Draft was the most-watched in 16 years and the second-highest rated in ESPN's history, the league announced today. Drawing an average of 387,000 viewers, the event was up 123 percent from last year and 33 percent for the last time it was on the flagship cable channel. The presence of Sabrina Ionescu obviously helped buoy the figure, but it's yet another bold data point portending absurdly successful numbers for the upcoming NFL Draft.
First and foremost, let's take a moment to appreciate the WNBA's win. Growing interest in the sport is always an uphill battle (for not great reasons sometimes) but the confluence of current events created an opportunity to hopefully convert some eyeballs. Ionescu going to the biggest media market in the league certainly helps.
Imagine you're a handsomely compensated suit at Disney this morning. You're perhaps still buzzing from last night's monumental Michael Jordan documentary windfall. Then you see this WNBA news and realize that any type of sporting content with some uncertainty can succeed. Then you realize the NFL is king and the curiosity factor will be incredible as people tune in to see/root for something to go wrong.
You'd be forgiven for noticing all these things and lighting a preemptive victory cigar even if it is before noon.