Season Ticket Holders Meet with WNBA President Laurel Richie

Before the press conference, Liberty fans warned WNBA President Laurel Richie they were going to be asking her some difficult questions.

In her second month on the job, Richie had been on tour visiting some of the WNBA teams and talking to their season ticket holders, listening to them and answering any of their questions in regards to the league. So far, the fans have showed Richie true passion, something that will help the WNBA continue to improve and progress.

“I don’t mind a tough question, because a tough question is passion,” Richie said. “A tough question says I really care about this game, I care about the players. I want to see more of it.”

Growing up in Cleveland, OH, Richie grew up on basketball, cheering for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Until now, she had been the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Girl Scouts of the USA. After former President Donna Orender stepped down, NBA Commissioner David Stern appointed her on Apr. 21, 2011 as the WNBA President, which Richie called her dream job.

“It’s sheer excitement and very new,” Richie said. “It’s all still very new but I have been so impressed with the fans. They are loyal, dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic, which is terrific. I think the game is great. It’s aggressive, it’s competitive and dazzling in moments. I have appreciated and come to really love the game.”

Richie is looking into obtaining more sponsors for the league, helping bring in increased revenue so the league can flourish. She hopes that going from team-to-team will help in the process, learning the best practices for acquiring more sponsors. Richie also told the fans she is looking to improve the WNBA’s marketability, portraying the athletes as the role models they are. Richie believes the women’s stories, their hard work, commitment and perseverance are all special and should be broadcasted for the fans to know.

“These are amazing women, on and off the court,” she said. “They are great athletes, they’re smart, they give back to the community, they care about each other and they care about the world. On top of being phenomenal athletes, I just think the world could use a lot more role models like the women of the WNBA.”

While Richie is continuing her tour, she’s unsure what she will be able to improve in the short term, but told the fans her plans and what she hopes to accomplish.

“It’s premature to say exactly what I want because part of what I’m doing right now is going around and listening to teams, owners, sponsors and fans. I do hope there are more people who have been to a game and have had the experience of seeing the game, having some fun, and leaving two and a half hours later saying ‘that was great, I need to come back.’”

In April, Richie was named one of the top 25 Influential Black Women in Business by the Network Journal.