Curious how to watch WNBA players overseas? We’ve got you covered. That means you won’t miss out on your favorite players as they join France’s BLMA, Russia’s Dynamo Kursk, Turkey’s Nesibe-Aydin, and more this season.
Today, we’ll take a look at the overseas leagues, and introduce you to how their seasons function. And we’ll show you how to watch overseas games live. Including some free apps and YouTube channels that cover your favorite players.
Plus, we’ll share which WNBA players are abroad. And even give you some pro tips on how to hunt down answers to all your overseas questions. So let’s get after it!
First of all, how great is it that the women’s game is both a year round sport and a global game? Lucky for us, we get to enjoy the WNBA in the summer. And then watch the overseas games throughout the winter.
This year, over 100 WNBA players are playing overseas this year, up from 60 players back in 2017. That means more than two-thirds of the league plays overseas during the WNBA off-season — a very high number. And proof that there really is no off-season for our superwomen (which has a little something to do with WNBA salaries). In short, it’s very likely that your favorite players are playing meaningful games outside of the WNBA.
“In the WNBA, we don’t really have an off-season. Most of us play overseas year-round to earn extra money. (I play in Europe.)”says the Seattle Storm’s Jewell Loyd in The Players Tribune
It’s pretty simple to see which players are abroad and where in the world they are with the WNBA’s handy resource here. In addition, many teams have created their own guides for tracking their players overseas. You can look up your favorite team’s players abroad here:
And if you want to see some of the best basketball, here are a few interesting “superteams” to follow. You’ll notice a lot of familiar names in Turkey’s Women’s Basketball Super League (KBSL) including Satou Sabally and Ty Harris.
Before we get into the different ways you can enjoy women’s basketball overseas, it’s important to understand how the leagues work. As it’s very different from the WNBA.
Firstly, there are dozens of leagues. There are leagues in Italy, France, Russia, China, South Korea, and so on. Secondly, some countries offer the opportunity to play in multiple leagues and tournaments. For example, European countries have a national league, as well as also offer the opportunity to play in either the EuroCup or EuroLeague for qualifying teams.
This works similarly to soccer’s Champions League and EuroLeague, as the team must qualify for these prestigious tournaments. And the way the team qualifies depends on their country. EuroLeague Women is the most demanding and prestigious international tournament, and EuroCup is a step below it.
On the other hand, the Asian countries have only their own leagues to compete in. And have not adopted a continental competition pitting all the champions against each other. Though we’d love to see it.
Now that you have a better understanding about how overseas basketball works, it’s time to decide what you want to watch. You can either make a plan to follow your favorite players, or to keep up with your favorite teams. Here are a few tips for doing either one.
If you just love the WNBA and have no team allegiance, then simply pick your favorite players to watch. Just find the overseas teams they play for, and follow those teams, using the Winsidr’s simple tracker.
So if you want to follow Liz Cambage, Breanna Stewart, and Alyssa Thomas, you’d watch the Southside Flyers (Australia), UMCC Ekaterinburg (Russia), and ZVVZ USK Praha (Czech Republic). This would give you three teams to follow, in three different countries, and two teams playing EuroLeague which is the top international club competition. That’s a lot of different styles of basketball spread out over multiple countries and multiple competitions!
To follow a specific player, Twitter is one of the best sources for seeing how to watch their games. First, follow the player on social media. Then, follow their overseas team. And finally, follow their WNBA team. You can also follow their overseas league, for example here’s the EuroLeague Women account. Often times, players will tweet out about their upcoming games. And the WNBA teams tend to give “Overseas Reports” and share and celebrate their players’ accomplishments abroad.
Another way you can follow the overseas game is to follow all the players from your favorite WNBA Team. Let’s use the Chicago Sky for example. Again, you can use the tracker, to find all Chicago Sky players playing overseas.
The Chicago Sky have ten players playing overseas. Of those ten, four play in Russia, two play in Turkey, and the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, and Israel all have one Chicago Sky player. Just following these ten players in six different countries should give you plenty of viewing options and variety.
Again, turn to your Twitter sources for the latest watching scoop. As an added bonus, follow the WNBA beat writers for your WNBA team, such as Maggie Hendricks for the Chicago Sky. Or Storm Chasers for the Seattle Storm. They tend to be in the know and eager to share any news related to the team even if it’s overseas playing news. You could also check out the #WNBAOverseas hashtag.
So now that you know how to find the games schedule, let’s dive into how to watch the games.
Watching overseas basketball can be confusing and intimidating. It’s a lot of countries, there can be language barriers, and some leagues provide better access than others. Plus, the games are typically early in the morning for those in the Unites States. Here we cover whether you need a subscription, or if you should download any apps, and how to watch on Youtube. Let’s start with the easiest and best competition to watch: the EuroLeague.
There are 33 WNBA players taking part in the EuroLeague Women competition this year. The players include:
EuroLeague’s first hub takes place from November 29 – December 5, 2020, with the second round of fixtures scheduled to be played from January 17-23, 2021. It has 16 European Clubs playing in the initial group stage games. During this phase, each team in each group plays each other twice with one home game and away game. After that, they advance to the quarterfinals where each team plays each its opponent twice. Then they move on to single elimination games for the semifinals and finals.
EuroLeague is the most consumer friendly, because they provide so many ways to watch. The easiest option is to just download their official app. It is very good and keeps all past box scores, game archives, and highlights. You can watch all games in real-time via the app. Plus, it’s free!
If you don’t have a phone that can handle streaming or you just can’t stand downloading another app, YouTube is your best bet. EuroLeague has all its games available on the FIBA YouTube channel where you can watch every game live. Plus, each stream stays available to watch afterwards. As an added bonus, the channel also features international friendlies, 3 on 3 basketball and youth national team games. Just subscribe to the channel, to make getting back to games easy.
League tournaments get a little tricky. Some countries’ leagues are easier to follow than others. The best thing to do is to check out the teams’ websites and Twitter accounts. Just Google the team name and then use “translate” if you need to.
The top teams in Russia do a very good job of promoting and making their league accessible. Particularly, UMMC. They are arguably the best team overseas and they always share live stream link to their league matches on their Twitter. They also regularly provide scores and highlights updates.
Also, don’t forget you can just ask! Join Facebook Groups with other WNBA fans to see if they can answer your game-watching questions. Just go on Facebook and search for “WNBA” and select Groups. Then click to join. Some particularly helpful groups are WNBA is Life and WNBA Family.
Also, Reddit has a WNBA channel where you can talk with other WNBA fans and discuss games, including what’s happening overseas. Finally, as a last resort, feel free to tweet at teams, and ask what time a game is or how you can watch. They’ll often point you in the right direction.
If you want to keep it simple, our recommendation is just to watch the EuroLeague Women. That should satisfy your craving for professional women’s basketball during the WNBA offseason.
While finding the games to watch is a challenge, just think about the challenges the players go through while abroad. Playing overseas means they’re often alone in a country where they don’t speak the language and are operating in a different time-zone. Meanwhile, Black WNBA players encounter even more obstacles, from barriers to hair care to unrelenting stares from locals.
Tuning in to watch is just one small way you can offer your support. Up next, learn more about WNBA free agency and what might be in store this year. Or check out a skills break down on an overseas walking bucket, Arike Ogunbowale.
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