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Mystics release 2020 WNBA season television schedule, will only have three games on ESPN’s network

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All but three games will be available on NBC Sports Washington.

Washington Mystics Media Day
The Washington Mystics are ready to defend their 2019 WNBA title!
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Washington Mystics announced their 2020 WNBA season television schedule. All but three of their games will be televised on NBC Sports Washington, where Meghan McPeak will do play-by-play and Christy Winters-Scott will do color analysis.

I wish that they are also doing Wizards game broadcasts (which Matt Modderno may or may not concur with me on), but I digress.

Like past seasons, all games can be streamed online through Monumental Sports Network. For those of you who are fans of the new OTT (over-the-top) movement, you can watch games on Apple TV, Roku and more.

Which games are on National TV?

Washington will be on ESPN or ESPN2 three times this season. These are the three games that will not also be on NBC Sports Washington:

  • July 30 at 6 p.m. ET vs. Seattle Storm, ESPN
  • Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. ET vs. New York Liberty, ESPN2
  • Aug 13 at 7 p.m. ET vs. Los Angeles Sparks, ESPN2

Five additional games will be on CBS Sports Network, but they are simulcasts of local broadcasts.

Why are the Mystics only on national TV three times?

I’ve been accused of over-hyping Emma Meesseman. I’m guilty as charged for hyping her, when she’s unlikely to hype herself. But I don’t think I’m over-hyping her ... especially for this season.

Meesseman is at the very least a Top-10 WNBA player. But let’s be honest, many people didn’t watch Mystics games last season to see the “Reaper from Ieper.” Hell, she was on the bench most of the season!

The Mystics were on ESPN or ESPN2 last season because of Elena Delle Donne, who is unlikely to play this season because she and the team believe she is at a higher risk of coronavirus complications.

If you want to see how all national games were distributed, here’s a chart below:

As you can see, teams like the Phoenix Mercury, who have Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi; the Seattle Storm who have Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart and the Los Angeles Sparks who have Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike have more nationally televised games.

To me, it’s a sign that there’s a yearning for the familiar pre-EDD Mystics world order when it comes to starpower — with the exception of the New York Liberty. That’s because they have first overall pick Sabrina Ionescu. All of the aforementioned teams have more ESPN and ESPN2 games than the Mystics.

If Meesseman plays like the MVP candidate that I know — I MEAN WE KNOW — she is, perhaps we’ll find see them on national TV a little bit more in the regular season. But for now, it appears that the four-letter network is content “putting Washington back in their place,” especially with Delle Donne likely out and Tina Charles definitely sitting out this summer.

Can we blame the national media for relegating the Mystics?

For most of Mystics franchise history, I’d say that we can’t blame ESPN for not putting Washington on the air. However, this season, Washington enters the season as defending champions. They still bring back several key players from the 2019 team like Meesseman, Ariel Atkins and Aerial Powers. They added a sharpshooter in Leilani Mitchell.

And Wes Unseld’s legacy will be present, not just in spirit. He is going to be on their left shoulders!

I get that the Mystics will probably not win the WNBA title this year. But again, Meesseman is at least a Top-10 WNBA player. Okay, she’s more of a Top-5 player considering the player departures. Breanna Stewart still hasn’t played much since she suffered an Achilles injury last year — yet the W wants to crown her the preseason MVP already? And Ionescu is likely going to put up big numbers on a rebuilding Liberty team, yet the Mystics are getting disrespected left and right.

We’ll have more content on the Mystics and how far this team can go this week. But make no mistake: barring a ....... coronavirus outbreak hitting the team directly, this team will not go out quietly. There is certainly plenty of reason why this year’s team, like many Mystics teams of years’ past, will punch well above their perceived weight.