College teammates Breanna Stewart and Napheesa Collier are planning a queen-of-the-court-style league to keep WNBA players home during the long offseason.
Set to start in January, the duo told Ramona Shelburne that their goal is to help players get paid while complying with the WNBA‘s prioritization rule. Unrivaled would join Athletes Unlimited as another professional women’s league capitalizing on the long WNBA offseason with stateside competition.
Here are key details about the forthcoming Unrivaled league:
- It will include six franchises with 30 of the top players from the W participating in three-on-three and one-on-one contests.
- Unrivaled will run from January to March, taking place in Miami during the WNBA offseason.
- The intent is for players to earn competitive salaries similar to their WNBA contracts. For reference, the WNBA supermax salary for the 2023 season is $234,936.
Stewart first started holding serious conversations about a U.S.-based women’s basketball league when faced with the option of playing overseas following the birth of her second child with her wife Marta Xargay. From there, the Puma athlete consulted with Collier and her husband, Alex Bazzell, about possibly starting something stateside.
“We went to dinner in New York and [Bazzell] was explaining the idea of being a part of this league where it’s like you’re on an all-digital basketball court, you’re playing 3-on-3, 1-on-1, Queen-of-the-court type thing where you hold bragging rights, but also make a salary that’s kind of set in stone, but also can always grow bigger,” the two-time WNBA champion explained.
“We’ve all been talking and realizing that we’re missing a moment, having a lot of our players be overseas or not playing basketball (during the offseason). … I think top players, they want to be playing, right? They want to be home, they want to be playing, but it has to make sense. It has to be right and the money has to be right. And I think that’s what Unrivaled is trying to do.”
Stewart and Collier revealed a number of companies that have expressed interest in partnering, including Twitter, DAZN, the WTA, and WWE.
The 2023 WNBA regular season ends Sept. 10, with the last possible WNBA finals game on Oct. 20.
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