Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Debut to Stream on Disney+

Live sports are coming to Disney+ sooner than you might think.

ESPN says next Tuesday’s WNBA tip-off games, including Caitlin Clark’s regular season debut with the league, will stream on Disney+.

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On May 14, Clark’s Indiana Fever will face off against the Connecticut Sun, and the Phoenix Mercury will face the Las Vegas Aces. Both games will stream on Disney+, the company says, and will also be available on ESPN+ and ESPN2.

The WNBA games are a big deal, as until now, Disney+ has not been in the live sports business, with one rare exception. Disney has done some experimental streams with the NFL and NHL, in which it used technology to stream games live, but with animated characters in place of the actual athletes.

The WNBA games will be the full, studio productions, not animated simulcasts. And given the hype and interest Clark is bringing to the league, it may deliver big numbers.

Clark delivered record-shattering numbers in this year’s NCAA woman’s basketball tournament, with the final delivering nearly 18.9 million people. Surely ESPN, Prime Video and CBS Sports want to keep that momentum going, and Disney+ is a way to do that with younger fans. Clark has played in a preseason game for the Fever, but next week’s game will be her first official regular season game.

On Tuesday morning, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company would add an ESPN tile to Disney+ later this year, with selected live games available at no charge, and with access to ESPN+ content to subscribers to both services.

“We see this as a first step to bring ESPN to Disney+ viewers as we ready the launch of our enhanced stand-alone ESPN streaming in the fall of 2025,” Iger said Tuesday on the company’s second quarter earnings call.

That being said, the fact that the first live event on Disney+ will come just a week after that announcement (even though a dedicated tile probably won’t be ready by then) underscores how quickly Disney is moving in the space.

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