Commissioner's Cup Is Latest In New Steps Forward For WNBA
The WNBA has announced the "creation of the Commissioner's Cup, an in-season tournament consisting of 10 games for each team," and the games will be the "first home and road games against conference opponents," according to Percy Allen of the SEATTLE TIMES. This announcement came days after the league completed a new CBA agreement and released an expanded '20 schedule, going from 34 to 36 games. The top two teams from the East and West conference "will meet in the Commissioner's Cup Championship game," which is "tentatively scheduled for Aug. 14 at a site to be announced, two days before the regular season resumes on Aug. 16 following the Olympic break." WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike said, "We aren't just adding games. We're kind of finding ways to garner new fans" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/17). ESPN's Richard Jefferson said of the Commissioner's Cup, "NBA, start taking notice." ESPN's Rachel Nichols said the WNBA has "been the lab for a lot of changes." Jefferson: "We have to find a way to spice it up but still keep to the tradition of the game." Nichols said, "It's going to have a ripple effect all across both leagues" ("The Jump," ESPN, 1/16).
NEW HORIZONS: THE UNDEFEATED's Sean Hurd wrote ever since the players' union "opted out of the previous CBA in November, the spotlight was on the next chapter in the fight for pay equity in women's sports." After several months of negotiation, the WNBA "now holds the blueprint." WNBPA First VP and Connecticut Sun G Layshia Clarendon said, "So now women's soccer or the NWHL can look at our CBA as a standard. I think it's really significant that we set the standard" (THEUNDEFEATED.com. 1/15). Indiana Fever VP/Basketball Operations & GM Tamika Catchings, who previously served as WNBPA President, said the "impact that the CBA will have, not just for the WNBA but just in general for the future of women's sports is huge." On the progress the WNBA has made, Catchings said, "We're 24 years in. This didn't happen overnight. With a lot of sports leagues, I think that we have become the model, specific to women's leagues that are potentially going to start up." Catchings: "We have become the model for that. We have done a lot of really great things and definitely set the bar high and will continue to set the bar high" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/16). Celtics Dir of Player Development Allison Feaster: "It looks like it's something really positive for the league. I see it as growth, moving towards a more mature league" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/17).