WNBA app rolls out TikTok-style video feed to attract younger fans

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is the latest organization to bet on short-form videos to draw in more users. The league announced Tuesday its revamped mobile app, which includes a new home page with a TikTok-like vertical feed that features free content as well as other app updates like a new feature that hides game scores.

Previously, the home page only featured content designated for WNBA League Pass subscribers; thus, the videos were all locked behind a paywall. With the new update, everyone has instant access to free short-form videos as soon as they open the app. Fans can watch highlights, behind-the-scenes and off-the-court content along with “fit checks,” where WNBA players show off their outfits.

Notably, the app will also offer various exclusive content that won’t be posted on WNBA’s social media accounts, Devin Ward, director of WNBA digital products, told TechCrunch.

Image Credits: WNBA Digital

At the top of the home screen, there are new “stories” for users to click on and get a quick rundown of WNBA-related news. Like Snapchat and Instagram, these videos are 10 seconds long and go away after a certain amount of time.

Plus, the new home page features a news section for fans to read written articles about their favorite team.

The WNBA’s counterpart, the NBA, added a “For You” vertical video feed to its app in September 2022. Many fans reacted positively to the NBA’s in-app short videos and the feature was highly requested for the WNBA app, said the league.

Similarly, the WNBA also added “Hide Scores,” a feature that already exists in the NBA app that allows users to swipe on a toggle to enable or disable game scores. Now fans can prevent their watch experience from being ruined if they want to avoid spoilers.

Also, a new widget launched for iPhones, so users can see game scores appear on their lock screen in real time.

Image Credits: WNBA Digital

Although there are similarities between both apps, the WNBA team noted there are noticeable differences as well. Plus, the WNBA app is a separate product built by the league’s internal team with help from its partner, Deloitte.

One major difference is the navigation tabs at the bottom of the screen. The updated WNBA app has a “Standings” tab, so users can see where each team ranks. The league found based on its learnings and consumer feedback that casual fans wanted the stats and standings to be easily accessible.

Meanwhile, the NBA app has its “Standings” section hidden in its “Discover” tab.

As the WNBA continues to gain more traction, the league is further investing in its digital platforms in hopes of enhancing the fan experience. During the 2022 season (regular and postseason), the WNBA reported an average of 416,000 viewers across all networks, making it the most-watched full season since 2006.

Overall, the WNBA app is a hub for fans to access replays, highlights, the latest schedule, scores, stats, standings and more. It has seen 260,909 downloads since 2020, according to the company. For the 2022 season, the league’s app had 101,000 monthly active users.

The app also offers WNBA League Pass, a subscription that costs $24.99 per year and gives viewers live and on-demand games.

Eventually, the WNBA plans to launch features for sports betting and fantasy leagues, Ward told us.

The 2023 WNBA regular season begins May 19.