A couple weeks ago, I was invited to cover a WNBA game, the Washington Mystics versus the Connecticut Sun. Some people snickered. Some asked why. Some didn’t care.
And that’s fine. This post isn’t to convince anyone that the WNBA is great or that it’s even better than they think. Plain and simple, the WNBA is worth it. Worth the effort to make sure it works. Worth the support and subsidization of the NBA … although, the current level of the NBA’s assistance is somewhat mysterious.
WNBA president Donna Orender was recently interviewed by Fortune’s Poppy Harlow on CNNMoney.com. When asked if the league gets financial support from the NBA, Orender carefully said, “We are an entity that runs ourselves, but with … I would say we have support from the NBA, but there’s always been these rumors that they’re writing big checks for us …” Harlow interrupted and implored Orender to clear the record on if the WNBA stands on its own feet financially. Ordener responded, “At the league level, we do. Yes.” A bit vague, but certainly indications of progress from Orender.
Individual teams, however, are another story. A report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Henry Unger last December indicated that the Atlanta Dream, in its second season of existence, lost $3 million, although official financial numbers are disclosed.