Tuesday’s Chicago Sky preseason game will be streamed following fan outcry over broadcast access

Tuesday’s Chicago Sky preseason game will be streamed following fan outcry over broadcast access

Chicago Sky fans eager to get an early glimpse of the team’s new players will get their first opportunity Tuesday night. And after outcry from fans and players, the game will be available to stream.

Tuesday’s game against the New York Liberty at Wintrust Arena will be streamed on the WNBA League Pass, the team confirmed to the Tribune. Announcers Jason Ross Jr. and Shimmy Gray-Miller will call the game.

“The group of young ladies that we have, it’s a deserving thing for them to be seen,” head coach Teresa Weatherspoon said. “It’s good to know that it changed and for us to be seen and for us to play the game of basketball the way that we love and to have fun doing it with the world being able to watch.”

Rookie Angel Reese, the No. 7 pick in April’s WNBA draft, is expected to play Tuesday. But fellow Sky rookie Kamilla Cardoso, drafted No. 3, has been sidelined for four to six weeks with a shoulder injury sustained in the May 3 preseason game against Minnesota, the team announced Monday night.

Preseason broadcast access quickly became a contentious topic for the WNBA on the heels of one of the most highly anticipated draft classes in league history.

After the app incorrectly stated the entire opening slate of preseason games would be available via WNBA League Pass, fans began to take the issue into their own hands. Minnesota Lynx fan Alli Schneider livestreamed the entirety of Friday’s game against the Sky on X, earning more than 250,000 active viewers, including former WNBA star Sue Bird.

Although the livestream offered a shaky view of the game, the lack of access sparked frustration across the league.

“I’m still not over this,” forward Isabelle Harrison wrote on X. “The 2023 & 2024 national champions had their first W game streamed on a cell phone. Some way, some how. My rooks deserved that game to be televised.”

Providing livestreams or broadcasts of preseason games is a relatively new venture both for the WNBA and the Sky. While the entire NBA preseason is broadcast through local affiliates and League Pass, the WNBA selected two preseason games to offer in 2023: its annual exhibition game in Canada and the first preseason game of the No. 1 draft pick. There were no preseason games streamed in 2022.

This year the league expanded that broadcast offering to four games, adding another game featuring No. 1 pick Caitlin Clark (Atlanta vs. Indiana on May 9) and a game featuring No. 2 pick Cameron Brink (Los Angeles vs. Phoenix on May 10). But the influx of attention brought in by players like Clark, Brink, Cardoso and Reese stoked a new desire for broadcast accessibility that the league was not prepared to meet — at least in the preseason.

The WNBA will produce the Canada and Fever-Dream games, while the home teams (Wings and Mercury) will produce the two others.

“There are opportunities that exist all over the league and sometimes you can’t capitalize on them all,” wing Diamond DeShields said. “For those who were upset, I mean, I get it. But the league is doing their best to try and showcase as much as they can with all the resources that we have and fortunately we have one that will be broadcast for all our fans tomorrow. So for all those fans who were upset — make sure y’all tune in.”

The Sky will kick off the regular season on the road against the Dallas Wings on May 15.


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