WNBA Basics and marketplace
Hello! Thanks for your question about the WNBA Basics and its marketplace. The short version is I found answers to all of your questions. Below you will find a deep dive of my research / findings along with all the details for how I came to this answer.
As per your request, I stuck to straight statistics that cut to the chase. I’ve included your list of questions with the appropriate data following each one.
*Total number of teams?
There are a total of 12 teams up from the original eight when the league began in 1997. Only three of the original teams exists today (New York Liberty, Los Angeles Sparks, and Phoenix Mercury).
*How many players per team?
Teams have a maximum roster size of 12 players
*Who are the top players based on game performance? According to the WNBA, these are the top performers both past and present: Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, Cynthia Cooper, Tamika Catchings, Lauren Jackson, and Sheryl Swoopes/Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins, Tina Charles,and Candace Parker. Of these players, Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, and Lauren Jackson have won three MVP awards. Cynthia Cooper won back-to-back awards in 1997 and 1998. Candace Parker won both the WNBA Rookie of the Year and WNBA MVP in the same season. Diana Taurasi is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer
*Who are the top coaches?
The 2017 WNBA.com GM Survey provided data on WNBA insiders’ opinions. Best overall head coach in the WNBA: Cheryl Reeve (33%), Brian Agler (17%), Bill Laimbeer, Fred Williams, Michael Cooper, Mike Thibault, Sandy Brondello (all 8% each) Best manager/motivator of people: Cheryl Reeve (42%), Brian Agler and Mike Thibault (17% each), Jenny Boucek, Pokey Chatman, Fred Williams (8% each)
*The current coach lineup is as follows: Eastern: Michael Cooper (Atlanta Dream), Amber Stocks (Chicago Sky), Curt Miller (Connecticut Sun), Pokey Chatman (Indiana Fever), Bill Laimbeer (New York Liberty), and Mike Thibault (Washington Mystics). Western: Fred Williams (Dallas Wings), Brian Agler (Los Angeles Sparks), Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx), Sandy Brondello (Phoenix Mercury), Vickie Johnson (San Antonio Stars), and Jenny Boucek (Seattle Storm)
*Who won the playoffs in 2016, 2015?
*How many games in a season?
There are 34 games in the WNBA’s regular season.
* How many times do teams play against each other each season? Every team will play each other three times.
*What stadiums do they play in the North America?
Scout.com provided the following statistics on capacity size of the WNBA stadiums.
San Antonio Stars: AT&T Center (18,418)
Chicago Sky: Allstate Arena (17,500)
Tulsa Shock: BOK Center (17,839)
Indiana Fever: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (18,165)
Dallas Wings: College Park Center (7,000)
Seattle Storm: KeyArena (17,072)
New York Liberty: Madison Square Garden (19,563)
Connecticut Sun: Mohegan Sun Arena (9,518)
Atlanta Dream: Philips Arena (18,729)
Los Angeles Sparks: Staples Center (13,141)
Phoenix Mercury: Talking Stick Resort Arena (19,023)
Minnesota Lynx: Target Center (19,356)
Washington Mystics: Verizon Center (20,356)
*How how many seats in an average stadium where WNBA plays? What are the attendance figures for WNBA games (how many seats filled vs. empty)?
Average size based on the above figures is 16,591.
The WNBA News site provided the following information on attendance. “The WNBA registered its highest attendance (1,561,530) since 2011 and the highest average attendance (7,655) over the same time period (a 4.6% increase over last year). The season was highlighted by record-breaking numbers for the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever. The Sky set franchise records for average attendance (7,009) and single-game crowd (16,444) against the Los Angeles Sparks on July 13. The Fever had its highest average (8,575) since 2001, and boosted the second highest single-game attendance in franchise history of 17,704 on Sept. 18 for legend Tamika Catchings’ final regular-season game. Also this season, the Phoenix Mercury recorded the highest average attendance (10,351) for the franchise since 1999.”
By comparison, the data for the NBA is as follows. “The NBA set the all-time regular-season attendance record for a third consecutive season with 21,997,412 fans attending games during the 2016-17 regular season. The new record eclipses last year’s total of 21,972,129. Additionally, the NBA established a new regular-season attendance record for average attendance (17,884), eclipsing the previous high set last year. This year also marked the 13th straight season that league attendance has been at least 90 percent or more of arena capacity (94 percent).”
*What are the TV ratings for WNBA playoffs versus NBA playoffs? The WNBA News site provided the following data regarding viewership. “Combined ESPN and ESPN2 viewership was up 11% this season over last year (224,000 vs. 202,000). The season was highlighted by the season opener on ESPN between the Phoenix Mercury and the Minnesota Lynx, which delivered 505,000 viewers and delivered the highest-rated, regular-season WNBA game on the ESPN networks since 2011.” Statista.com provided some historic data.
By comparison, Variety reported that, “ABC, ESPN, and TNT saw NBA viewership decline slightly in the 2016-17 regular season.”
*Are there any rivalries old or current among specific teams?/Are there any old or current rivalries among specific players? There is a well-known rivalry between the Minnesota Lynx and the Phoenix Mercury. The latter is also a rival of the Los Angeles Sparks.
*Has there been any controversy around a player moving from one team to another? (e.g. Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors) I located some sources with data on controversial moves including Detroit Shock, changing their base from Tulsa to Dallas and Elena Delle Donne going from the Chicago Sky to the Washington Mystics.
*Are there any mega fans of the WNBA who have a massive social media following?/Are there any mega fans of WNBA specific players or WNBA teams who have a massive social media following? NBA stars like - "Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Jeff Teague, Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng, Zach LaVine Lou Williams and P.J. Tucker" are big fans of WNBA. The WNBA also reports that there are a combined 12 million likes and followers on social media which grew by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016.
Imani Boyette offered some interesting insights on the WNBA’s social media presence with the following insights: “1. There’s only a couple thousand follower difference between the Sparks and the Lynx. The Sparks have a strong online presence. 2. The Lynx are the most popular WNBA team, which makes sense considering their winning records and championships over the years. 3. New York Liberty is top third in viewership. 4. Chicago has the second-most followers on both platforms. They also actively interact with fans consistently on twitter. 5. Atlanta falls in the top third of following. 6. Phoenix Mercury is the top third in viewership and consistently interact with and retweet fans."
MVPindex ranked the players’ social media presence as follows: “top five players of WNBA in terms of social media following: "1. Skylar Diggins 2. Elena Della Donne 3. Candace Parker 4. Maya Moor 5. Britney Griner." I have included links to several Twitter accounts.
*Does WNBA have an east and west coast conference similar to NFL? The 12 teams consist of six in both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. The breakdown is as follows: Eastern (Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, and Washington Mystics) and Western (Dallas Wings, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury, San Antonio Stars, and Seattle Storm)
I was able to locate a wide range of statistics which should put you on good footing with this topic. I've added some additional sources for more background information. It was a pleasure to help you with your search. Good luck with your project! Thanks for using Wonder! Please let us know if we can help with anything else!