WNBA stars starting up another women's league

wnba stars starting up another women's league

WNBA stars starting up another women's league

A new professional women's basketball league, called Unrivaled and co-founded by WNBA stars Breanna Stewart and Napheesa Collier, will launch in January 2025, the group announced Thursday.

Unrivaled will be player-owned with equity opportunities for participating players, and the league said it will offer the highest average salary in women's professional sports league history, with Stewart indicating on Good Morning America it would be six figures.

The league was formed with a goal of giving top players another option to play domestically during the WNBA's offseason, particularly as the W enacted stricter prioritization rules that make it more difficult for athletes to play full seasons overseas to complement their salaries.

The group compiled a high-profile group of investors including soccer legends Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, NBA greats Carmelo Anthony and Steve Nash, golf icon Michelle Wie West, actor Ashton Kutcher and UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

"For years, women have relied heavily on off-court sponsorships for a majority of their income," Stewart said in a statement. "With Unrivaled, we're revolutionizing the game by prioritizing investments in our stars and ensuring their on-court performance is reflected in their pay."

"With the growing popularity of women's basketball and the WNBA, this is an opportunity for us to extend our visibility into the traditional basketball season," Collier added in a statement. "Breanna and I set out to create a league that would change the way women's sports are viewed and ultimately how sports leagues operate. We may have had the vision, but this isn't just our league -- it belongs to the players, and the Unrivaled model reflects that." 

The league will feature 30 women's basketball players across six teams for a 3-on-3 style of play in a compressed court setting. The league said several reigning All-Stars have agreed to join and that the full list of participants will be announced this summer. Competition will be held in a 10-week window in Miami.

Co-founder of Meadowlark Media and former president of ESPN John Skipper, as well as co-founder and co-CEO of Horizon Sports & Experiences and former Turner president David Levy, will work on the league's media rights while also serving as investors.

Athletes Unlimited also launched a basketball league in 2022 that gives players an option to stay stateside during the WNBA offseason.

ESPN reached out to the WNBA for comment but has not yet received a response.

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