Making Sense of How to Watch the WNBA on your TV

Calvin Wetzel
Jun 21 · 5 min read

The WNBA’s 2017 deal with Twitter and this year’s new partnership with CBS Sports Network have brought some good news and some bad news for WNBA fans. The good news is that there are more ways to watch than ever before! Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news, as more ways to watch means more technology and services to deal with. Difficulty figuring out where to watch each game, even for those of us that have purchased WNBA League Pass, has been a common theme among fans as well as here at Her Hoop Stats.

That’s why we’ve got you covered with our guide on how to catch all of the games this season. There are several ways to watch on your phone or tablet, but for now we’ll focus on getting the action onto your TV screen.


Summary

If you really want to watch every single WNBA game this season on your big screen, you’ll need both a way to watch traditional channels like ESPN and streaming games on League Pass and Twitter. You can watch the traditional channels via either a cable or satellite subscription or with one of YouTubeTV, DirecTVNow, or PlayStation Vue. You’ll also need a device for the streaming games. If you’re an Apple household, we suggest using Apple TV. If not, we’d recommend purchasing the much more affordable Chromecast to project from your phone or computer.

With Apple TV or Chromecast and a subscription to either YouTubeTV, DirecTVNow, Playstation Vue or a cable/satellite provider, you can watch every WNBA game this season on your TV

Details

There are five traditional TV channels carrying nationally-televised WNBA games in 2019: CBS Sports Network, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and NBATV. The rest of the games will either be on Twitter or League Pass, which combine to represent 53% of the regular season. The chart below breaks down the number of games on each channel, led by League Pass with 88 and CBSSN and NBATV with 40 each. If you live in a WNBA market, the League Pass games of your local team may be blacked out, in which case you will need to find them on a local channel.

Broadcast Games: Cable/Satellite Subscribers

If you have a satellite or cable subscription, watching a game on your TV from one of the five traditional networks is pretty simple. All you’ll need to do is make sure you have a package that carries those channels and then find them on your TV. We’ve compiled a list of each of the channel numbers for some of the top providers. ABC’s channel number varies by zip code, so you will need to check your local listings to find it.

For providers that have different HD and SD channel numbers, the HD number is provided

Broadcast Games: Cord Cutters

Services

If you are one of the growing number of people cutting the cord and opting to use an online streaming service, the first thing you’ll need to figure out is if your service has the channels you need. This chart shows the five traditional channels that carry WNBA games and their availability on each major streaming service. To have access to all five, you’ll need to subscribe to YouTubeTV, DirecTVNow or PlayStation Vue.

Cord Cutters will need YouTubeTV, DirecTVNow or PlayStation Vue to watch all WNBA games this season

Devices

To watch on a TV with one of these services, you’ll need to have a streaming device. Four of the five most popular services — Hulu, DirecTV Now, Sling and PlayStation Vue — are all available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices. YouTube TV is only available on Apple TV and Roku. Using Chromecast and a computer is an option for each of these services as well.

Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku fully support the needed streaming services

If your service doesn’t have an app on your device (looking at you, YouTube TV subscribers/Fire TV owners), you do have a couple of options for the CBSSN games as well as the games on ESPN networks (including ABC). CBSSN games can be seen on the CBS Sports app, while the ESPN app has the games on their three networks. You’ll need to log in with your TV provider, and both networks have apps on Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku in addition to being compatible with Chromecast.

Streaming-only Games

By far, the biggest challenge for many seems to be for the largest category of games: those not on a traditional provider. At the moment, we are not aware of any method for cable/satellite subscribers to watch these games directly through those subscriptions, so all WNBA fans must use some kind of streaming device to watch them.

For all of these games, you can subscribe to League Pass and use its app on Apple TV or project it using a Chromecast device. Other devices such as Roku, Fire TV and more do not currently support League Pass. With a League Pass subscription, you can also stream WNBA games on NBATV, but that isn’t the only way to watch them.

For the games live streamed by Twitter, you can get them on your TV using the Twitter app for Apple TV or Fire TV or using the Chromecast/computer combination. Twitter games are also available on the WNBA app with a League Pass subscription.

Only Apple TV and Chromecast fully support watching streaming games on your TV

All services mentioned in this article have apps on Android phones and tablets as well as iPhones and iPads, so if you’re a cord-cutter, don’t let traveling stop you from watching hoops — tune in from anywhere! In fact, you may find it easier to watch on devices other than your TV.

Once you’ve found your game, sit back, grab some popcorn and cheer on your team!


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Insight about women’s basketball brought to you by herhoopstats.com

Thanks to Aaron Barzilai.

Calvin Wetzel

Written by

Her Hoop Stats

Insight about women’s basketball brought to you by herhoopstats.com