Starwood Hotels & Resorts Becomes Official Hotel of the WNBA

NEW YORK, March 16, 2009 -- The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced a new marketing partnership agreement that will make Starwood the first-ever Official Hotel partner in the league’s history.

As part of the partnership, Starwood will showcase its extensive line of hotels and resorts and promote its Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) customer loyalty program to the WNBA’s passionate fan base of women and families through national marketing promotions that will include WNBA.com and SPG.com. In addition, Starwood will offer exclusive access to WNBA games and events to SPG loyalty members. Players and staff from all 13 WNBA teams, along with WNBA league personnel, will stay at Starwood hotel properties for all league games. Starwood will also be the official host hotel for marquee WNBA events including the WNBA Draft, WNBA Playoffs and the WNBA Finals.

"Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is a first-class company and we are pleased that the appeal and value of the WNBA will be utilized to its fullest behind this new marketing partnership," said WNBA President Donna Orender. "We will use the combined assets of the WNBA to support Starwood's impressive business through innovative marketing programs that will engage both their consumers and our passionate WNBA fan base."

"Starwood Hotels & Resorts are very excited about our partnership with the WNBA,” said Christie Hicks, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “Besides the opportunity to do great business together nationwide, this partnership allows us to highlight the great community outreach of the WNBA, something we value as well. The WNBA continues to gain momentum and we are thrilled to be part of it."

Starwood also will be a participating partner and the official host hotel of the league’s fourth annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon in Chicago, where more than 300 prominent attendees from entertainment, sports, business and politics will gather to honor an individual who inspires others through her commitment and dedication to work, family and community. Previous honorees include ABC News’ Robin Roberts and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 940 properties in approximately 97 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched AloftSM, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

About the WNBA
The WNBA is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement and diversity. Comprised of 13 teams, the WNBA is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world. The league concluded its historic 12th regular season with increases in attendance, ratings, Web traffic and merchandise sales. The 2009 WNBA season will tip off June 6 on ABC.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.