NY Liberty to Fox 5 & My9 – a continuing trend among WNBA teams

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

Television coverage of the WNBA’s flagship franchise will have a bit of a different look to it in 2024. 

Following a five-year run where the New York Liberty were aired on the YES Network, Liberty co-owner Clara Wu Tsai, CEO Keia Clarke and star player Breanna Stewart were guests on WNYW-TV Fox 5’s Good Day New York to share a bit of big news regarding the seafoam, black and copper. 

Fox 5 along with sister station WWOR-TV My9 will be the Tri State’s home for Liberty broadcasts beginning this coming season – a season that will once again likely see New York as top contenders for a WNBA championship. 

Expanding our local reach and ensuring we are widely accessible wherever fans watch Liberty games is imperative in today’s ever-expanding media landscape.

-Keia Clarke, Liberty CEO (press release)

We’re fired up to welcome the NY Liberty and their voracious fans to our roster of incredible sports programming. This partnership of two winning teams is a slam dunk. Fox 5 cannot wait for the 2024 season tip-off to bring the exciting play of WNBA to our audience.

Lew Leone, Senior VP & General Manager, Fox 5 and My9 (press release)

That is the big selling point for the Liberty – that Fox 5 and My9 – a pair of over-the-air channels are much more accessible for New York area fans than the YES Network was. 

This appears to be a trend among WNBA teams. Earlier this year, it was announced that the Atlanta Dream would move its games this coming season off of Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast and onto Gray Television’s Peachtree TV WPCH-TV and the Peachtree Sports Network. 

Gray Television also has similar agreements in Las Vegas with the Aces and in Phoenix with the Mercury. 

The Liberty and Dream developments appear to be further signs that WNBA teams are taking heed of the water that regional sports networks appear to be taking on as sports fans appear to want alterative options – such as streaming – to watch their favorite teams. 

Looking back at the Liberty’s five-year run on YES, one has to give it props for treating the franchise better than what it was during the dark days of the MSG Network. The coverage of the Liberty on MSG Network was a reflection of how James Dolan saw the franchise – they were simply there. Never mind that the Liberty were more consistent winners than the Knicks, they played second fiddle regardless. 

YES Network at the very least treated the Liberty with a higher priority. YES’s crew, which included Chris Shearn and Julianne Viani-Braen (who also worked Liberty games for MSG) sounded like they were enthusiastic about covering the team even during the rebuilding years. 

One area of YES Network’s coverage where it certainly deserved its flowers was how it would also produce Liberty games even when New York was on the road – a rarity in WNBA production circles. Our guess is that production of Liberty games will go in-house within the NBA’s production with the move to Fox 5 and My9. 

Who the broadcasters will be is anyone’s guess as well, but one can almost certainly count on the Liberty having a lot of telecasts on national television – particularly the ABC/ESPN family of networks. This could mean that the number of games broadcast on Fox 5 or My9 could be a finite number. 

Another aspect of the Liberty’s coverage in New York – which has increased lately – is that SportsNet New York (SNY) which primarily covers the New York Mets and New York Jets arguably had more coverage of the Lib than evern YES Network did. It has not been rare as of late to see a segment on SNY where Dexter Henry has Girls Talk Sports TV founder Khristina Williams and Myles Ehrlich, Liberty beat reporter at Winsidr, about the latest at Atlantic & Flatbush and within the W as a whole. 

Because of the Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets connections, the Liberty will still have ties to YES Network as long as they are attached at the hip with the Nets. But this appears to be receiving rave reviews from Lib Loyals given, even in today’s television landscape, broadcast being more accessible than cable. 

And that’s why this move was made. The Liberty understand that more than likely they will be back in the Finals at the conclusion of the 2024 season – likely vs. the Aces. The team wants as many New Yorkers as possible to follow its journey from the opening tip to what it hopes is – at long last – that championship and ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes.