Richie discusses state of the WNBA

INDIANAPOLIS -- When WNBA President Laurel Richie visited Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the Indiana Fever's anniversary celebration of Title IX, she took a few moments to discuss the growth of the women's professional basketball league.

The WNBA is in its 16th season.

We are coming off a terrific season last year where we saw (television) viewership increase, attendance increase, Richie said. We signed our first ever league-wide marquee partner with Boost Mobile. This year will be the first year we'll be able to activate that partnership all season long. We're very excited about that.

We're thrilled to have a full year of activation with them and feeling very bullish coming into this season wanting to continue that momentum.

The 2012 WNBA season is unusual in that the league will take a break for a month from mid-July to mid-August while many of its players participate in the London Olympics.

I think it is a terrific opportunity for the women of the WNBA, said Richie, who recently was on hand when the U.S. squad scrimmaged against Japan and China. Just to see those 12 players from our league, together, playing for our country was amazing. I think it does well for the league.

Richie doesn't view the month off from league play as a drawback for the WNBA.

I don't think so, she said. I think it's up to us, knowing that it's coming, to fill it with lots of good stuff to make sure we are in contact with our fans throughout the month.