The WNBA Tips Off Tomorrow: What To Expect

WHN | May 13, 2024

By Brandolyn Hellams What fans can expect this season from rookies, new brand partnerships, and more With this draft class…

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By Brandolyn Hellams

What fans can expect this season from rookies, new brand partnerships, and more

With this draft class being the most anticipated in recent years, fans are excited for the season to finally begin. We’ve got national champions, record holders, flat out ballers that headlined this year’s drafts. On top of having dominant players, the announcement of new franchises for the league has fans on the edge of their seats.

The league has made significant progress with broadcast deals, the announcement of charter flights for teams and brand deals with big retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, and brands like Skims. With more eyes on the sport there’s no better time than now to make changes. Let’s take a dive into what to expect this season.

Impact Rookies This Season

Of course we all know the name Caitlin Clark. She’s one of the reasons so many new fans are tuning in to the “W.” She’ll be teaming up with Aliyah Boston, and Fever fans can’t wait to see that connection. But let’s talk about some other impactful freshmen that will hit the court this season. There’s Cameron Brink, who went number 2 in the draft, and led the nation in blocks this season. Rickea Jackson is also one of the newest members of the LA Sparks. She’s been pro-ready for a while, and her game is translating well in LA.

 Kamilla Cardoso will be out for 4-6 weeks, after an injury that happened in a pre-season matchup. However the Chicago Sky made some big moves by adding her and Angel Reese to the roster. Cardos even said herself in the draft press conference, that she and Angel won’t be giving up many rebounds. Put them with new head coach Teresa Weatherspoon and you’ve got success waiting at your fingertips.

 The ladies mentioned are of course names that we expected to remain on the roster after training camp, but there are a few who have shown that they are ready for takeoff as well. Jacy Sheldon was the no. 5 pick and has shown discipline on defense with the Lynx. This is something that she had in her bag while at Ohio State and she packed it with her to Minnesota. 

 Celeste Taylor is another one impact player that has made the opening day roster. Her defensive energy may be the reason for this.

On to the reigning champs now, the Las Vegas Aces. Becky Hammond and the Aces were able to snag 3 big names from the draft. One of the leading scorers in NCAA history Dyashia Fair, Iowa standout Kate Martin, and Virginia Tech record holder Liz Kitley. Fans believe that the Aces have a good chance of a 3-peat, and with adding rookie pieces like that, it isn’t far fetched. 

Brand deals and partnerships  

With more eyes on the league, that means more opportunities for endorsements and advertising. Fans have been begging for big brands to get behind these ladies for decades now and it seems to finally be happening. Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced that they have signed a multiyear partnership with the WNBA to promote women’s sports and youth participation. While DICK’S currently carries an assortment of authentic WNBA sports apparel and equipment, this is the first-time young girls will be able to enjoy an official WNBA lifestyle collection made just for them. 

SKIMS has also announced their partnership with the “W” as well. They announced their commitment to the men’s league earlier this season, and on Monday announced their latest campaign with WNBA stars Skylar Diggins-Smith, Cameron Brink Kelsey Plum and Dijonai Carrington. The ladies wore underwear from Skims’ “Fits Everybody Line.”  The line features a selection of colors and sizes ranging from XXS to 4X.  The collection includes bras, underwear, loungewear and staple pieces like bodysuits, T-shirts and turtlenecks.

Wilson and Tissot were among brands to collab on a partnership to launch the first official watch of the WNBA, and on the media front, ION and Scripps announced its “WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION” with new pregame, halftime and post game show coverage.   

Full charter flight program this season

In the age of social media, and streaming, athletes are subject to more public notice. With that being said, security must be taken more seriously. Now, it’s no secret that security should’ve been a priority years ago. In more recent years there was an incident that happened with Brittney Griner and her teammates after a fan approached them maliciously at the airport.

Even outside of safety reasons, flight delays, lost baggage can all be a hassle for teams as they travel often with jerseys, merchandise and other equipment. Why not make it easier for them to fly non-stop instead of walking through airports with baggage, and at times long layovers. 

Earlier this month, the league announced  a full league-wide charter program that will be phased in beginning with the start of the 2024 regular season. Today it was announced that the New York Liberty will not have a charter flight for their first two games. The program will be primarily operated by preeminent sports charterer Delta Air Lines.

WNBA Regular Season Tip-Off Schedule

Tuesday, May 14

  • New York Liberty vs. Washington Mystics, 7 p.m.
  • Indiana Fever vs. Connecticut Sun, 8 p.m.
  • Minnesota Lynx vs. Seattle Storm, 10 p.m.
  • Phoenix Mercury vs. Las Vegas Aces, 10 p.m.

Wednesday, May 15

  • Chicago Sky vs. Dallas Wings, 8 p.m.
  • Atlanta Dream vs. Los Angeles Sparks, 10 p.m.

Brandolyn Hellams is a journalist and producer in Atlanta, who covers sports and entertainment.

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