Engelbert Focused On WNBA Season Despite Impending CBA Expiration
New WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert has been spending time "learning the ins and outs" of the league's CBA ahead of its expiration on Oct. 31 and working with WNBPA Exec Dir Terri Jackson, but those matters are "not the most pressing issues in the early days of her tenure," according to Ava Wallace of the WASHINGTON POST. Engelbert said, "We’ve got a league to run, and we’re in-season, and we’ve got a lot going on positively. We’ve got to think about sales and marketing in a different way and corporate sponsorships. So I’m focused on (bargaining negotiations), but I’m focused on a lot of other things that are hopefully going to make the CBA a lot easier to think through." Hiring someone with Engelbert’s "corporate pedigree signaled a priority shift for the league." Last year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that the WNBA "hasn’t been profitable in its 23 years of existence." It is "clear to Engelbert that she was hired to change that." She said that her "priorities as commissioner are threefold, all designed with an eye on fostering financial growth: player experience, fan experience and attendance." Engelbert said that the "biggest hurdle in terms of financial growth is increasing attendance." She said, "You’ve got to attract the more digitally minded" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/23).
TOUGHEST JOB IN THE WORLD: On Long Island, Kimberly Cataudella noted N.Y. Liberty G Bria Hartley is "focusing on gaining better benefits for mothers" in CBA negotiations. Hartley spent the first half of her '16 season pregnant, "leaving the Washington Mystics at the end of the regular season to begin her maternity leave." She said, "There are a lot of things that aren’t in our CBA that I think should be for moms, so I definitely try to advocate for that" (NEWSDAY, 7/21).