The Lynx’s preseason opener wasn’t broadcast, so a fan streamed it for free

Ali Schneider couldn’t believe it.

Schneider, a four-year season ticket holder, was at Target Center on Friday for the Lynx’ preseason opener against Chicago.

It was the start of what could be a promising season for the Lynx and the professional debuts of Chicago and Minnesota players Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso. Alyssa Baileythree players were selected in the top eight in the WNBA draft.

It also turned out to be a litmus test of how quickly interest in women’s basketball – and women’s sports – is growing.

The game was not televised, and was not available for streaming, unlike Caitlin Clark’s preseason debut against Dallas that same night.

So Schneider decided she would show it on her phone to her X followers.

“I started it,” Schneider, 27, said Monday. “The numbers kept increasing and increasing and increasing.”

Go to her profile on X — @heyheyitsalli -And you can see it. Over 200,000 were watching it live. As of Monday afternoon, the post It received more than 2.5 million views.

“It doesn’t seem real,” said Schneider, who lives in the Twin Cities area.

It does not appear to some that the WNBA is taking full advantage of the growing interest in the sport.

Lynx president of basketball operations and coach Cheryl Reeve — who will also coach Team USA at the Olympics this summer — tweeted a response to a league post on Friday promoting the Indiana-Dallas game, writing:

“Also in the game tonight – @minnesotalynx vs @chicagosky… Although fans won’t be able to watch, #Lynx fans can go to the Lynx app to follow along play-by-play.”

She ended the tweet with two hashtags: #12teams and #theWismorethanoneplayer.

Many read that as a touch of bitterness that Clarke is getting all the attention. However, Reeve stressed that she has nothing against Clark and is happy with what the former Iowa star has done for the sport (and may do for the WNBA). No, Reeve was just saying that there is a growing interest beyond that that needs to be harnessed.

After the game, Reeve joked that anyone who watched the broadcast should send $3 to Schneider. She said that fan interest is increasing dramatically and that business as usual will no longer work.

“There was a hunger for this,” she said. “They’ll tell you what you have to weigh are the production costs for the preseason game.”

But the popularity of Schneider’s current might suggest otherwise.

“People want to see,” Reeve said. “Certainly, Kaitlyn’s first game was appreciated. I’m all for that. I understand that. People want to see it. But there’s a general enthusiasm around the WNBA that we haven’t seen before, and we’ve done this to capitalize on those things to make sure this is a movement, so we’ll learn.”

Reeve joked that Reese and Billy should have broadcast the game themselves.

Schneider? The numbers don’t seem real. I tried the same thing in a preseason game last year and got about 100 followers. And on Friday, I just watched the viewership increase as the game went on.

Schneider, who grew up in Minnesota, has been a Lynx fan since Lindsay Whalen joined them around 2010. But she was away at college in Western North Carolina while the team won its title. But after her return, and after the epidemic subsided, she transitioned into season ticket ownership, often going to games with her sister.

And it doesn’t stop at the lynx. She’s a fan of other women’s sports as well. “It’s fun that we have a lot of women’s sports teams in Minnesota,” she said. “It’s kind of unusual, in a good way.”

Will you try to broadcast a preseason game again next year?

“I hope I don’t have to,” she said.

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