Pros and cons of WNBA’s League Pass price increase

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

More than likely, if one is a WNBA fan like we are, last week one probably received an email regarding an announcement regarding League Pass.

The portion of the email that more than likely caught one’s attention was how the price for League Pass would be increasing from $16.99 to $24.99 for the entire season.

That is still, for the most part, a modest increase. There are probably plenty of less worthy things we spend on a regular basis that are probably worth a lot more than $24.99. Still – a price increase is a price increase and League Pass seems to be following the trend of everything else we as fans hold dear – going up in price.

The email mentions that the increase is the first since 2016 and that it is a result of investments being made to enhance digital products and improve the viewer experience. It also mentioned how there will be an update with a new look across both the internet as well as mobile in addition to said experience being available for the first time on Fire TV.

Another element mentioned regarding the increase in price was how it will lead to access of more on-demand games from previous seasons – including last season’s WNBA Finals where the Chicago Sky defeated the Phoenix Mercury in four games.

We will know for sure once the season tips off in a little over a month if indeed this price increase is going to be reflected in what is clearly being teased by the WNBA as a new and improved League Pass. For those that do not know, WNBA League Pass used to be WNBA Season Pass in the early days of the W prior to the rebranding as League Pass to bring more synchronicity with the NBA’s own League Pass offering.

While the convenience of having access to out-of-market games is, by all means, a plus of the League Pass service – it does come with its fair share of drawbacks. One example of this is how during commercial breaks we see a loop of prepackaged “commercials” that likely are not showing up if one were to watch a game directly from the television channel airing the WNBA game itself.

Also – another thing likely to be seen during commercial breaks of WNBA matchups on League Pass are highlights of previous games, particularly later in the season. League Pass subscribers will likely mention how Sabrina Ionescu’s game-winner to lift the New York Liberty over the Indiana Fever or Kia Nurse’s game-winner to lift the Mercury over the Sky were mainstays in the League Pass library.

The sometimes uncomfortable reality about the growth of a still relatively young sports league like the WNBA is that its growth is going to lead to access to the W becoming more expensive. Obviously, WNBA executives feel confident enough in these “enhancements” made to the League Pass experience that it warrants a price increase of $8. For some, that amount may be a lot. For others, the increase may not be as much.

For now, only the list of games that will be seen via one of the ABC/ESPN channels are known. That begins on May 7 when the Connecticut Sun make the short trip to Barclays Center for a get-together with the Liberty on ESPN. That same day, the Atlanta Dream will be at Arlington’s College Park Center to meet up with the Dallas Wings.

The day prior to May 6 will be the tip-off of the 2022 WNBA season with four games on the schedule – Indiana Fever at Washington Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks at Chicago Sky, Las Vegas Aces at Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx at Seattle Storm. It is likely a safe bet that a good number of these games will be available via League Pass, giving fans such as us a clearer indication on if the League Pass enhancements are as advertised or if the experience still remains relatively unchanged from previous League Pass versions.

The WNBA wants us to show it more of our money – and we will likely oblige given how we want it to thrive, succeed and eventually expand. What will it show us when this updated version of League Pass hits our computers and mobile phones? Only time will tell.

Impress us. Or not …

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