How Brands Are Showing Up at WNBA All-Star Weekend

The WNBA All-Star weekend is back in Las Vegas in a big way, and brands are on board.

For the first time, this weekend’s All-Star Game will air in primetime on ABC, tipping off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday from the Michelob Ultra Arena. In addition to the game, which features team captains A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, fans can enjoy a halftime show starring Kehlani sponsored by AT&T.

“While this marks the 19th year of our partnership with ESPN, this is the first time we are on ABC in primetime for the All-Star Game,” Colie Edison, WNBA svp and chief growth officer, told Adweek.

“I get the chills,” she added. “It means that we are part of your sports conversation, your sports viewing experience, and that does not need to say ‘women’s sports.’ We’re just part of the conversation now.”

TV ratings are up in a major way for the WNBA this year. Across ESPN platforms, games are averaging 548,000 viewers, a 46% year-over-year increase. And on ABC, that average climbed to 647,000 over eight games, up 18% compared to the four games airing on the network ahead of the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game.

That momentum has been continuing in person throughout the season and is evident heading into this weekend’s festivities.

Scoring major partnerships

On the ground, the league is hosting its second-ever WNBA Live event, presented by U.S. Bank. In 2022 in Chicago, the event had 15,000 square feet of partner activation. This year, there will be 75,000 square feet, a 400% growth.

Fifteen different partner activations are happening in Las Vegas, as well as a variety of panels, meet and greets and more.

“The experience is just totally elevated for both the fans and our partners,” Edison said. “By Friday, you’ll really get the feel that the WNBA has taken over Las Vegas as we turn a lot of things orange. We are so thankful to all of our Changemakers, and we would not be here without them.”

The league’s Changemaker partners will have a large presence throughout the weekend, with U.S. Bank presenting the overall Live festival. Its activation will also have a merchandise customization statement, financial trivia and meet-and-greets with WNBA stars Aliyah Boston, Satou Sabally and Napheesa Collier. Peloton’s Jess Sims is even set to host The U.S. Bank Brick or Bucket Challenge, a finance-focused trivia game.

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