ESPN’s three-month, companywide, multi-platform recognition and celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX culminates this Saturday — on the anniversary of the very day of the historic bill’s signing.
Included in more than 180 hours of women in sports programming across ESPN networks on that day are two WNBA games on ESPN. Presenting some of the league’s biggest stars, coverage will begin with the Chicago Sky vs. Minnesota Lynx at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed later that evening with the Los Angeles Sparks against the Phoenix Mercury at 9 p.m.
Several aspects of the two telecasts will have connections to espnW’s initiative, The Power of IX. Over the past several months, interviews have been conducted with past and present WNBA players who have shared what Title IX means to them, including Nancy Lieberman (Hall of Famer), Lynette Woodward (Hall of Famer), Nykesha Sales (former WNBA forward), Rebecca Lobo (Hall of Famer/ESPN analyst), Teresa Edwards (Olympic Gold Medalist), Marie Ferdinand Harris (WNBA forward), Ashley Robinson (WNBA forward), Swin Cash (WNBA forward), Tamika Catchings (WNBA forward) and Cappie Pondexter (WNBA guard).
“The WNBA directly benefits from Title IX and without the law and strong advocates such as (WNBA President) Laurel Richie and (NBA Commissioner) David Stern, we would not have had the opportunity for WNBA coverage on our networks the last 16 years,” said Carol Stiff, ESPN vice president of programming & acquisitions. “It is an honor for ESPN to bookend the day of our Power of IX celebration with two WNBA games.”
Additional game highlights include live interviews with former Senator Birch Bayh, the father of Title IX (via satellite), WNBA great Cynthia Cooper, soccer star Hope Solo and Phoenix Mercury vice president Ann Meyers Drysdale.
Both telecasts will feature an in-depth look at the Title IX legislation, its meaning for both the past and future of women’s sports and footage from some of the greatest moments in women’s sports history. In addition, sound from some of the greatest female athletes, including past and present WNBA icons and the legendary Billie Jean King, as well NBA stars Grant Hill and Steve Nash, will be incorporated into the telecasts.
ESPN soccer analyst and espnW contributor Julie Foudy will host the day’s studio coverage with former collegiate and WNBA women’s basketball star Sheryl Swoopes.