Sabrina Ionescu # 20 of the New York Liberty shoots the ball during the game against the Minnesota Lynx on May 18, 2021 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Steven Freeman | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
Sports betting company PointsBet has agreed to partner with the Women’s National Basketball Association. It is the company’s first ever deal with a women’s sports league.
The license agreement announced on Friday allows PointsBet to use WNBA team logos and gamer pictures on all platforms to increase brand awareness. The company wants to position itself for sports betting among sports consumers, and the WNBA says viewership has increased.
The financial terms of the one-year contract were not specified.
In a statement, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the deal with PointsBet will offer a digital two-picture experience. The deal offers WNBA consumers a new way to watch games with PointsBet betting odds.
“Innovations at the WNBA and improving the fan experience start with realizing how our fans want to interact with the players, teams and the league,” said Engelbert.
The WNBA is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season and says audience numbers are increasing. Turner Sports reported a 27% increase (81,000 viewers) for its May 14 NBATV show, a season opener starring New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu. That’s compared to the Washington-Connecticut game last July, which had an average of 64,000 viewers.
In October, ESPN announced that the three-game WNBA finals series, featuring Seattle Storm and Las Vegas aces, averaged 440,000 viewers, while Game 3 averaged 570,000 viewers. The network said the final saw an audience of 34% compared to the 2019 WNBA Finals Game 3 competition.
PointsBet believes in the growth potential of betting activities related to women’s sports. It measures the success of the 2021 women’s college basketball tournament as evidence that women’s sports can attract weather. In April, ESPN announced that the Arizona-Stanford title game had an average of 4 million viewers and hit a high of 5.9 million. The network said it was the most watched women’s competition since 2014.
“We are very excited to join the WNBA and bring the world-class PointsBet experience to one of the world’s most digitally engaged fan bases,” said Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet. “The WNBA has done a phenomenal job with growing fan engagement and PointsBet is excited to be part of this puzzle that is evolving.”
PointsBet is based in Australia and has a US headquarters in Denver. The company is also looking to the future of in-game betting. In March, the company acquired Banach technology known as the Robinhood of Sports Gambling. In-play betting allows consumers to place micro-bets in-game.