The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has named PointsBet its authorized gaming operator ahead of the league’s regular season next week.
The partnership announced Friday is the first such deal of the Australia-based global sportsbook operator with a women’s professional sports league. PointsBet’s partnership with NBA in Feb. 2020 was the operator’s first with a pro sports league in the United States.
The WNBA, marking its 25th season this year, has a nine-game schedule for the weekend. The league’s 2020 champion, Seattle Storm, will be visiting the Dallas Wings to play its only game on Saturday.
The women’s counterpart of the NBA currently comprises 12 teams and was founded in 1996 by the NBA.
PointBet-WNBA Deal to Be Effective Immediately
PointsBet’s deal with the women’s professional basketball league will go into effect immediately, starting with four games Friday, according to a news release.
Chief Executive Officer of PointsBet USA Johnny Aitken said in a news release, “We are excited to align with the WNBA and bring the top-class PointsBet experience to one of the most digitally engaged fans in the world.”
Aitken praised the women’s league for doing a phenomenal job with growing fan engagement, reflecting PointsBet’s excitement for becoming a piece of that puzzle moving forward.
He said the WNBA supporters will appreciate PointsBet’s adaptability and innovation, adding that this competitive advantage, along with the PointsBet app’s market-leading speed and ease of use will suit the specific needs of the fans.
As part of the one-year agreement, whose financial details were not disclosed, PointsBet will integrate the WNBA into its betting platforms, while receiving WNBA sponsorship and brand visibility opportunities.
The deal reflects WNBA’s bold ambitions to grow in the sports betting domain by associating with a global operator that supports women’s basketball across the globe while promoting the game through its own fanbase.
In a news release, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated, “Innovating at the WNBA and increasing the fan experience begins with recognizing how our fans like to interact with the players, teams, and the league.”
She added that The Australian sportsbook would enhance a second screen experience that digital fans are looking for. “We’re thrilled to partner with PointsBet to continue expanding in the sports betting space and look forward to the innovative ideas it will bring to the game,” Engelbert said.
Increased Interest in WNBA
According to the WNBA, it is witnessing a sharp increase in viewership. Turner Sports witnessed a 27% rise (81,000) viewers for the May 14 NBATV telecast, a season opener. Last July’s Washington-Connecticut game averaged 64,000 viewers.
In October, ESPN reported the three-game WNBA Finals series averaged 440,000 viewers. The sports channel said the final game had a 34% rise in viewers over the 2019 WNBA Final Game 3 contest.
FanDuel and BetMGM have already partnered with the WNBA. MGM Resorts, the parent company of BetMGM, owned the Las Vegas Aces before selling the team to Mark Davis earlier this year. Davis also owns Las Vegas Raiders.
PointsBet to Grab the WNBA Growth Momentum
PointsBet, looking to become a major player in US sports betting, believes in the growth potential in women’s sports. The Australian operator, with a US headquarters in Denver, measured the success of the 2021 women’s college basketball tournament. It believes WNBA would attract bettors.
The NCCA women’s basketball final between Arizona and Stanford averaged almost 4 million viewers and peaked at 5.9 million. According to ESPN, it was the most-watched women’s contest since 2014.
PointsBet is already operational in some of the leading sports betting states like New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, and Iowa.