Aces, Liberty set Game 1 viewership record for WNBA Finals

The WNBA Finals’ super-team showdown is paying ratings dividends.

ESPN announced on Tuesday that Sunday’s series opener produced the highest ratings ever for a WNBA Finals Game 1 on ESPN networks. The game aired Sunday afternoon on ESPN’s parent network ABC.

Per ESPN, the game averaged 729,000 viewers and peaked at 885,000. ESPN and its networks have carried 83 WNBA Finals games since 1998.

The game’s margin was as close as two points late in the third quarter before the Aces pulled away late for a 99-82 win. The competitive early action and star power from both teams were enough to keep viewers engaged despite the lopsided final score.

Jackie Young, left, starred in Sunday's WNBA Finals Game 1. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Jackie Young, left, starred in Sunday’s WNBA Finals Game 1. (AP Photo/John Locher) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The reigning champion Aces entered Game 1 as the series favorites thanks to a roster featuring All-Stars A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum. Young starred in Sunday’s game while tallying a career playoff-high 26 points.

The Liberty counter with three All-Stars in Sabrina Ionescu, Courtney Vandersloot and league MVP Breanna Stewart. They also feature four-time All-Star and 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones on a roster that was retooled last offseason to compete for a championship.

The Aces fired the first salvo Sunday to take a 1-0 series lead in their quest for back-to-back titles. The Liberty will look to tie the series in Game 2 in Las Vegas Wednesday night.

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