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No one was airing Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso’s WNBA preseason debuts, so an X user livestreamed it

May 5th, 2024

The WNBA rookie class of 2024 is entering the league with unprecedented interest and Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese are two of its biggest names. So you would imagine people want to watch their preseason debuts with the Chicago Sky.

Unfortunately, those fans couldn’t on Friday. That was despite the WNBA League Pass app saying otherwise, as it listed every preseason game as available for streaming. The truth was that fans could only watch Caitlin Clark’s debut with the Indiana Fever on Friday, but not the Sky’s game against the Minnesota Lynx.

The WNBA posted an apology clarifying the situation, but that was little help for fans of Cardoso, Reese or the Sky. The more helpful party turned out to be an X user with the handle @heyheyitsalli, who attended the game in Minnesota.

Minutes before tip-off, she posted a query on whether fans would be interested in her livestreaming the game from her phone.

The answer turned out to be an emphatic “yes.”

As @heyheyitsalli streamed the game over the next two hours, her stream peaked at 173,381 viewers and has since hit more than 400,000 views through replay. It was grainier than professional broadcasts and shot in vertical mode for an hour, but it was clearly better than nothing.

The account helpfully shared the hard numbers after the game, which the Lynx won 92-81. Reese had 13 points on 2-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds in 24 minutes, while Cardoso had six points, four boards and two blocks in 13 minutes.

The stream garnered plenty of interest not just from WNBA fans, but from some of the league’s figureheads. Seattle Storm legend Sue Bird gave @heyheyitsalli a shout-out, while Lynx president and head coach Cheryl Reeve had plenty to say about what the situation means for the business of the WNBA:

“Heyheyalli, we should all send three bucks. Anybody that watched it should send three bucks to the person, I don’t even know who it is. I just heard walking here, [Lynx PR] shared with me. The time you said 120, so it was up to 160, 200,000. I think that what I would say is that the growth is happening so fast. It’s so accelerated. And I’ve been saying this in our own organization, that business as usual isn’t going to work anymore. You’re gonna get left behind and this is an example.

“Pretty simply, I’ll tell you what happens in the preseason. I think we’ve been ready for this. I think we’ve talked about it. I can’t tell you, I’m not in all the business meetings. But there’s been a thirst for it, not just this season, even before that, I felt like. But what you have to weigh, I think they would tell you is they have to weigh the production costs. For preseason games, maybe it’s not beneficial for everyone to do. So, that’s what’s in the way, that decision of ‘Where are you going to spend your money?’ And certainly, Caitlin’s first game, they were gonna value. I’m all for that. I get it. People want to see that, but they also want to see, you know, it’s not just about Caitlin. This isn’t Caitlin’s fault in any way. It’s more the recognition that there’s general excitement about the WNBA in ways that we haven’t seen before and so we have to capitalize.”

Reeve isn’t wrong that much of the unprecedented interest the WNBA is about to see is attributable to Clark, but it’s also attributable to Reese, the player many hold up as Clark’s rival/antagonist. Cardoso is also coming off a college career in which she won two championships and led South Carolina to an undefeated season just last month. People are going to be interested in watching them.

The WNBA is basically in a situation where interest is surpassing its capacity to capitalize on it, and the only real answer is increased investment from the league’s stakeholders. That has been a recurring conversation in the league for years, but there are fewer excuses as the 2024 class brings the viewers the league has been waiting for.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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