WNBA Losing Oxygen?

As Oxygen nears the end of its two-year programming agreement with the
Women’s National Basketball Association, network executives are undecided about
renewing the deal.

The network averaged a 0.2 rating for its 13-game regular-season WNBA
schedule. Oxygen was not rated during last year’s 11-game WNBA package.

The network will air at least two playoff games beginning this week, with the
possibility of airing up to four.

"We’ve been fortunate in terms of having great matchups and continuity,
airing the games live on Tuesdays," Oxygen Sports president and executive
producer Lydia Stephans said. "The ratings have been doing quite well -- it’s
been on par with the rest of the lineup."

Nevertheless, the network is waiting until after the playoffs to determine
whether it will extend its agreement with the league.

The WNBA’s other cable partner, ESPN2, will present up to 10 league playoff
games, tipping Aug. 28.

The network averaged a 0.25 rating for its first seven-regular season
telecasts, nearly even with last year’s 0.26 mark for 10 contests. During last
year’s playoffs, ESPN averaged a 0.28 for three games, while ESPN2 pulled a 0.33
average for eight games, according to the network.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.