SBJ/Sept. 23-29, 2013/Labor and Agents

WNBPA members can use app to keep up with talks

The Women’s National Basketball Players Association will be the second players union to use a mobile application to communicate with its members during negotiations for a new collective-bargaining agreement.

Through a partnership the WNBPA formed with SportsBlog.com this summer, WNBA players will be supplied with an app for their mobile devices that will allow communication between the union and the players about developments in talks.

The WNBA labor deal expires Sept. 30.

“The most direct way for us to communicate with the players as a whole is through their smartphones and tablets,” said Pam Wheeler, WNBPA director of operations, in a statement. “A WNBPA app gives us the capability to get both short-form and detailed information to the membership in real time while also providing the players with a means to communicate with the union in a variety of ways.”

The NHL Players’ Association is thought to be the first North American sports union to have developed such an app to communicate with its members about union business during collective bargaining. The NHLPA used its app, developed by Ontario-based Vayyoo, during the NHL lockout last year.

Kevin April, COO of SportsBlog.com, said the app for the WNBA players is similar to the one provided to the NHL players last year but also allows players to blog on the SportsBlog.com Internet platform. “There is an additional blogging component, where WNBA players can stay in touch with their fans through blogs,” April said.

The app also will allow WNBA players to communicate privately with the union, including enabling the WNBPA to poll players on their position on issues during the talks, April said.

“We expect, within the next 30 days, for all of the WNBA players to have it in their hands,” April said of the app.

The cost of developing the app was not disclosed. On the blogging component, WNBA players will share in the advertising revenue on the blog with SportsBlog.com, but April declined to reveal the revenue split between the company and the players.

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