WNBA Stars Plan New League

Idea is to give players an alternative to going overseas in the offseason
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2023 6:10 PM CDT
WNBA Stars Plan New League
Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier dribbles downcourt last month in Minneapolis.   (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Two WNBA stars announced Thursday they're starting a new league to give players an alternative to competing overseas in the offseason. Breanna Stewart of the New York Liberty and Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx said their league, named Unrivaled, will play from January through March, while the WNBA season usually lasts from May through September. Six teams will include 30 of the top professional women's players, who will compete in 3-on-3 games and one-on-one at a Miami soundstage, ESPN reports. "It's the ability for players to stay home, to be in a market like Miami where we can just be the buzz and create that with the best WNBA players," Stewart said.

They want to raise enough money through private funding and sponsorships to be able to pay players about what they make in the WNBA, to counter the overseas salaries they'd be giving up because of new league rules. The prioritization rules take full effect next season, per CBS Sports. Players this season were required to be back in the US by May 19, the start of the season. Next year, they must return before training camp starts. The rules make it difficult for WNBA players to make extra money overseas, which Williams called "ridiculous." That's what Brittney Griner was doing in Russia when she was detained; she said upon returning that she doesn't plan to leave the US again. (More WNBA stories.)

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