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WNBA Reveals New Regular Season and Playoff Formats

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

This is smart by the WNBA, but we’ll see if it results in higher TV ratings and ticket purchases.

Hoping to make the game and playoffs really entertaining, the WNBA announced that they will seed playoff teams 1-8 regardless of conference.

It was just one of several playoff format changes the league will introduce this season.

Here are the other changes, per the WNBA’s official site:

• The number of playoff rounds will increase to four from three, and the top two seeds receive byes to the semifinals.

• Teams will be reseeded after each round.

• The first and second rounds are single elimination, NCAA tournament style. In the first round, the No. 5 seed plays at home the No. 8 seed, and the No. 6 seed at home plays the No. 7 seed. In the second round, the No. 3 seed will play host to the lowest-seeded winner from the first-round, and the No. 4 seed will play host to the other first-round winner.

• The No. 1 seed will have home-court advantage against the lowest-seeded winner from the second round, and the No. 2 seed will have home-court advantage against the other second-round winner in the semifinals.

• Series format of the semifinals and finals is 2-2-1.

• Every playoff game will be televised by ESPN networks.

They will also play a more balanced regular-season schedule across conferences.

A statement was released by the league explaining the new innovative formats.

“First and foremost, the new postseason format provides an enhanced opportunity to showcase the best teams in the WNBA Finals,” NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum said in a statement. “Coupled with the new regular season structure that creates more competitive balance and additional excitement during the stretch run toward the playoffs, the new postseason format will provide a heightened sense of urgency to the start of the postseason.

“Add to that the fact that ESPN networks will air every postseason game live and we are talking about increased exposure and increased excitement.”

-- Glenn Erby

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