The 2021 season will be pivotal for the WNBA.
At a time where the momentum surrounding the league and women’s sports, in general, is higher than ever, the league must capitalize on this energy wave.
No one has proven their influence more over the past year than the WNBA, the league was instrumental in changing the power dynamics of the entire country when they helped get two Georgia Democrats elected to the U.S. Senate. They literally have an entire documentary that details the players’ social contributions coming out on May 13.
The league starts play on May 14 with some intriguing matchups like, Sabrina Ionescu returning against the Indiana Fever and the Connecticut Sun highlighted by DeWanna Bonner, Jonquel Jones, and first-round pick DiJonai Carrington will square up against the Atlanta Dream.
On Saturday, it gets even more interesting as Candace Parker officially makes her Chicago Sky debut against the Mystics. Then Seattle and Las Vegas tip-off in a Finals rematch where you know Las Vegas is coming for smoke after the way Seattle embarrassed them last year.
The league has also implemented some new strategies this season. The women will play the Commissioner’s Cup, with 10 games in each team’s regular-season designated to be part of cup play. The team in each conference with the best record in these games will play for the Commissioner’s Cup title. The season will also have an Olympic hiatus that way athletes can compete in the summer games. This will also be a boost for the WNBA because anyone interested in players on the women’s Olympic team can now immediately follow that player on their WNBA team once the season resumes after the Olympics.
The league should take another significant leap forward this season. They have everything possibly needed to finally get out the red and turn a profit. The league has been losing an average of $10 million per season since it started in 1996. The players have extraordinary social capital now because of their collective cultural impact and social media presence, they have an exciting new wrinkle added to their schedule, they have their star players coming back healthy, and the world has eyes on them like never before.
This is the year where the WNBA can make a significant leap to profitability. Granted, COVID guidelines and vaccine hesitancy could limit fan attendance but that is where social media partnerships and sponsorship deals need to come into play for a league gaining more and more social prominence.
The WNBA has an opportunity in front of them to go to the next level. Let’s see if the league can make the most of it.