WNBA Chicago Sky Strike Five-Year Local TV Deal With A Ratings-Earning Station
The WNBA Sky for the first time will have "nearly an entire season of games" broadcast on a ratings-earning TV station, according to Danny Ecker of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. The club "struck a five-year agreement with Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting Co. to air 24 games a year on its family of networks, including two games this season on WCIU-TV and 22 games on Weigel's U Too station." For the past three years, most Sky games have "aired on Comcast Network's CN100 channel, which is available only to Comcast subscribers in the market." The new deal, which coincides with Sky F Elena Delle Donne's rookie season, will see games "available in more than 8 million homes in the greater Chicago area." Prior to the team's deal with Comcast, which "expired after last season, handfuls of Sky games had been broadcast on Weigel-owned stations, with six games apiece in 2006 and 2007 and eight games on its Me-TV channel in 2008." Sky President & CEO Adam Fox said, "Being on a station that gets ratings is important. It's a great anchoring point for any company to understand what they're buying. We've moved from a concept buy to a legitimate ratings-point buy." Ecker notes the broadcasting team will include Big Ten Network's Lisa Byington on play-by-play and ESPN's Brooke Weisbrod as color commentator" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 5/21).
BIRD IS THE WORD: ESPN announced WNBA Storm G Sue Bird will be part of the net's studio coverage on select games, including the opening day doubleheader. Bird is sidelined for the '13 season while recovering from knee surgery (ESPN).