WNBA Commissioner Embraces College Players’ NIL Deals: What it Means for the Future of Women’s Basketball

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is taking a unique approach to the new name, image and likeness era for college athletes, unlike some other prominent figures in collegiate and professional sports.

She expressed that “It’s just going to be really interesting to see those players come into our league with big followings and see what that does to lift the viewership and the engagement in our league,” told Business Insider.

Engelbert also mentioned that partnerships with big-name brands like Mercedes, Powerade, and Nike for women’s college basketball players could easily transition into professional basketball, impacting the viewership and engagement in the WNBA. She noted that transitioning a global or national brand onto the professional stage is much easier than a hyper-local partnership, stating “The local grocer and the local car dealer, well, that doesn’t come into the next professional league, well,” Engelbert said.

The WNBA players rely heavily on partnerships for added income, with the average player making approximately $113,295 per season as of the start of the 2023 season. With the addition of a new expansion team coming to the Bay Area for the 2025 season, there will be more roster spots than ever. The rookies will be coming into the league having a strong grasp on NIL, making an impact on the league’s future.

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire


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