A Big Day for the WNBA

Adam Silver (L to R), Hannah Storm, John Skipper, Laurel Richie, Swin Cash and Bill Laimbeer pose after the WNBA announced the extension of a partnership and the release of a new brand identity.
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images


NEW YORK, NY -- With two landmark announcements today, the WNBA ushered in a new era for the league that's about to enter its 17th season.The first order of business was stating that the WNBA and ESPN are extending and broadening their current partnership. The second was that the league unveiled its new brand identity.

Present for the proceedings in New York was WNBA Commissioner Laurel Richie, President of ESPN Inc. John Skipper, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, current WNBA player Swin Cash, current New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer and several other executives from both ESPN and the WNBA as well as media members. ESPN's Hannah Storm hosted the event.

It is an exciting time for the WNBA as the league prepares for maybe it most hyped season since the league's inception. With three game-changing superstars in Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne set to join the league in this year's draft and with an enhanced broadcasting deal in place, the league is as visible as ever. With that comes an opportunity, via the league's new logo, to re-enforce to the WNBA's ever-growing fanbase what a current player in this league is actually like.

For more information on each announcement, see below.


PARTNERSHIP WITH ESPN

Its been a partner from the very beginning an it'll be a partner until at least 2022. ESPN, making a big statement in its investment in both the WNBA and female athletics, announced that is has agreed to extend and expand upon its partnership with the longest active running women's professional sports league. By the time of the deal's completion, these two entities will have been partners for at least 26 years.

In what Skipper called a "propitious time," to strike a deal, both ESPN and the WNBA are leveraging the popularity of Griner, Diggins and Delle Donne and giving the trio's current fans more chances to watch them in the WNBA.

"We're not just announcing an extension and a continued business relationship," Skipper said. "What we want to do is take advantage of this moment in time with these three transcendent superstars coming into the league to relaunch and restart what we're doing."

The deal also includes provisions for ESPN to use referee cams, to give ESPN more access to practices and shootarounds and for current and former NBA players to give their perspective on the WNBA game.


THE NEW LOGO

Refreshed. Modernized. Sleek

Those were the words being thrown around when talking about the WNBA's new brand identity embodied in the new “Logowoman”. Given the evolution of the WNBA game -- today's players now display more athleticism and diversity as ever before -- this updated logo better portrays the attributes that today's players possess. Keeping with the league's legacy, however, the new logo incorporates the distinctive orange-and-oatmeal color scheme of the league’s iconic game ball, making this logo a fusion of old-school and new school.

"For me the most exciting part of it, in addition to the color that's true to the WNBA, really is that silhouette," Richie said. "When I think of Swin and Diana and Tamika, I just feel like the logo woman now is a woman who reflects all that I see when I go to our games. We're thrilled to be bringing that out."

Now, the only thing left to debate is, who is Logowoman? Players and fans will be encouraged to post shots and photos of themselves going to the basket using #iamlogowoman on Twitter.


CLOSING THOUGHTS

John Skipper: "Where we want to help lead the way is we want to be supporters of women's sports and the WNBA is a signature league for us. We've been partners since the league started. this new deal is a sign of our commitment to continue in that partnership. We wanted to be, sort of, unreserved about our enthusiasm for the league, we wanted to show our commitment early and that's what this is all about."

Laurel Richie: "I'm sure all of you have been watching a lot of basketball and a lot of women's basketball on ESPN. So when you have a night when Brittney Griner scores 50 points, Skylar Diggins takes Notre Dame to triple overtime, and then Elena and Brittney play their final home game in college, you see three dunks, you just think that this is a moment in time that we collectively are poised and primed to capitalize on."

Bill Laimbeer: "I came in 2002. Fortunately having players like Swin on my team we won in 2003. The difference now to then is the talent level. The talent level is phenomenal coming in every year. You can see it's so hard to make a team right now. Getting a roster spot is brutal. The players are bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, better coached."

Swin Cash: "It means a lot. I think it makes you really feel valued. ... Now with ESPN making this commitment to us, I look at Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins, the fans will have accessibility to now see them in the WNBA. As players it's great to feel that commitment not only financially from ESPN but the visibility."

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