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May 30, 2024 11:02 am

Women’s Unrivaled league to start play in January

breanna stewart

Unrivaled, a women’s pro basketball league launched by WNBA All-Stars Breanna Stewart and Napheesa Collier, will begin play in January.

The league will feature 30 players, who will receive what Unrivaled is billing as the highest average pay in women’s sports as well as an equity stake. The women will be divided into six teams of five and play a 3-on-3 format.

All games will be played in Miami over a 10-week span on a 60-foot court. Some women who traditionally have spent the WNBA season playing overseas to supplement their pay now will have the luxury of staying home.

“For years, women have relied heavily on off-court sponsorships for a majority of their income. With Unrivaled, we’re revolutionizing the game by prioritizing investments in our stars and ensuring their on-court performance is reflected in their pay,” Stewart said in a news release.

Speaking Thursday on “Good Morning America,” the New York Liberty star and two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player declined to reveal the players committed to Unrivaled, stating only they are of All-Star caliber.

The league’s formation comes at a time that women’s basketball is enjoying unprecedented fan interest, with many WNBA players becoming household names.

“With the growing popularity of women’s basketball and the WNBA, this is an opportunity for us to extend our visibility into the traditional basketball season,” Collier said in a news release. “Breanna and I set out to create a league that would change the way women’s sports are viewed and ultimately how sports leagues operate. We may have had the vision, but this isn’t just our league — it belongs to the players, and the Unrivaled model reflects that.”

Soccer stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, retired NBA stars Carmelo Anthony and Steve Nash, five-time LPGA champion Michelle Wie West, UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman are among the investors in the new league.

The signing of a media rights deal is being spearheaded by former ESPN president John Skipper and former Turner president David Levy, who also have invested.

“The interest and enthusiasm for women’s basketball is reaching unprecedented levels, leading brands and media companies to prioritize their involvement in the sport as they recognize its significant upside, growth, and return on investment,” Levy said. “Unrivaled presents an exceptional opportunity for both brands and media companies to align with today’s top basketball players.”

–Field Level Media

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