The extension of its WNBA partnership mirrors a program with the NBA, wherein Kia has for the past two seasons presented the NBA Performance Awards, which includes four NBA end-of-season awards: Most Valuable Player Award, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man Award, and Most Improved Player, along with the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month.
For the WNBA, Kia now will present the Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Sixth Woman of the Year, grouped under the banner of "The WNBA Performance Awards presented by Kia Motors."
The Kia brand will be part of the formal award presentations and will also figure prominently in the awards coverage on WNBA.com. The recipients of the awards will be announced during the 2009 WNBA Playoffs presented by adidas, which began Thursday. Each of the four WNBA season-ending awards is selected by a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
The WNBA says it concluded the 2009 regular season with its third consecutive year of increased attendance and second consecutive year of increased viewership on ESPN2.
Per association stats, this year's average attendance of 8,039 fans per game was 1% above last season's 7,952. The WNBA regular season on ESPN2 concluded with an average of 269,000 viewers -- up 8% versus last season, per the WNBA, which said regular-season games on ESPN2 saw increases in key demographics including men 18-34 (+9%), men 18-49 (+14%), and men 23-54 (+23%).
Also, the league says fan views of live games on WNBA.com have more than tripled this season through the league's new WNBA Live Access, which web-casts games as they happen. The WNBA says it has the second-largest Facebook fan base among sports leagues, with 255,000 fans.