Changes are coming to the WNBA’s playoff format. On Thursday, the WNBA Board of Governors approved changes to the league’s playoff format and postseason seeding that’ll go into effect for the 2022 season.
Starting next season, the WNBA Playoffs will include the eight teams with the highest winning percentages over the course of the regular season.
The biggest change under this new format is that no teams will receive a bye to start the postseason. That’s because the number of playoff rounds has been reduced from four to three.
Another change that’s taking place is that single-elimination games will no longer be played. First-round matchups will adopt a 2-1 format, with the higher seed hosting Game 1 and 2. If a Game 3 is necessary, the lower seed will host that game.
Here’s a graphic that showcases the new format:
The WNBA announced that it will no longer have single-elimination games in its playoff
Teams will no longer have byes either
There will be three rounds. First is best-of-3, second and third are best-of-5. No re-seeding pic.twitter.com/OAs6zAyUc8
— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) November 18, 2021
Fortunately for WNBA fans, the league isn’t completely changing its playoff format. The semifinals and WNBA Finals will remain as best-of-five series and follow a 2-2-1 format.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert released a statement on the new changes. She believes the new format will make the postseason even more exciting than it already is.
“We have been evaluating different playoff formats over the past 12 months, and the new playoff format being announced today will enable fans to engage with all of the league’s best teams and top stars right from the start of the postseason with all eight championship contenders immediately involved in exciting, first-round action,” Engelbert said, via WNBA.com.