Local Event Sports Association

Sports Business 101: What is the WNBA?

By Joshua Lobdell On July - 24 - 2009

The WNBA is a professional women’s basketball league, run by the NBA and most located with current NBA teams. It currently features 13 teams, but may be ready to expand to 14 teams for the 2010 season.

Since this league has been around for more than 12 years, ownership of WNBA franchises is starting to trickle outside of the NBA team owners with whom they share markets.

While the WNBA was not the first professional women’s basketball league, it does hold a few key milestones. It was the first Women’s league to sign a collective bargaining agreement between its club owners.

It was also the first Women’s sports league to play more than 10 consecutive seasons. It is also the only professional women's league to have a multi-million dollar TV broadcasting deal.

The NBA decided to launch the WNBA in 1996. Originally the NBA owned and operated not only the WNBA but all of its teams as well.

The league thought it had an ideal marketing tool, as the USA Women’s team had just finished up its Gold Medal run in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. However, the league debuted to little fanfare.


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