Inspiring All Girls to be Strong, Smart, and Bold

Girls Inc. and the WNBA Announce Partnership

The Partnership
Girls Inc. and the WNBA have committed to a multi-year partnership to contribute to the Girls Inc. mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and boldSM and the WNBA goals of reaching out to their communities and making a positive difference in the lives of their fans. More specifically, this partnership will help Girls Inc. increase exposure to our mission, vision, programs and public education efforts while also creating opportunities for the WNBA to provide role models for girls, participate in their communities, build loyalty and interest in their league and teams, and grow their organization.

Although complete details of the partnership��s initiatives are not yet finalized, groundwork on concepts for the 2002 WNBA season has begun. We don��t have much time before the May 25th start of this year��s WNBA season, but we do want to make all of you aware of the partnership and share with you our thinking so far on a joint program for this year. Given the short time frame, this year��s plans may be more of a ��pilot�� program to test what we can do on a bigger scale in future years, but none the less, we��re forging ahead with some initial concepts.

Please also know that although this year our initiatives may concentrate primarily on national visibility for Girls Inc. and local ties between those Girls Inc. sites that are in closest proximity to the 16 WNBA team cities, our intention is to find ways over the course of the partnership to ensure that all Girls Inc. member organizations benefit from programs. And for those Girls Inc. member organizations that already have relationships and initiatives with a WNBA team near their sites, we look forward to working together to leverage each other��s knowledge and experience to help make the partnership stronger throughout the entire country.

Background on the WNBA
Founded in 1996, the WNBA played its first season in 1997 with 8 teams. Today, the league boasts 16 teams located in every region of the country.

  • Charlotte Sting
  • Cleveland Rockers
  • Detroit Shock
  • Indiana Fever
  • Miami Sol
  • New York Liberty
  • Orlando Miracle
  • Washington Mystics
  • Houston Comets
  • Los Angeles Sparks
  • Minnesota Lynx
  • Phoenix Mercury
  • Portland Fire
  • Sacramento Monarchs
  • Seattle Storm
  • Utah Stars

    More than 2.5 million fans attended WNBA games last season, the most ever, and for the fifth straight season, WNBA regular season game attendance averaged over 9,000 fans. In 2001, the WNBA also recorded its 10 millionth fan to attend a game since the league��s inception. Postseason traffic to set a record with over 1,000,000 visits and the league��s combined local, national and international television coverage during the regular and postseason reached nearly 60 million fans in 23 different languages and 167 countries. The 2002 WNBA season tips off on May 25 during Memorial Day weekend. For more information on the League, it��s history and the teams, visit their website at

    The First Initiative for the 2002 Season
    The WNBA and Girls Inc. national offices will begin working immediately to facilitate providing local Girls Inc. sites across the country with access to local WNBA players, coaches and games to motivate and inspire young people to get involved with Girls Inc. initiatives while also building interest in the WNBA teams and games. To that end, the national WNBA office is creating a special theme night for the 2002 season in all WNBA arenas with the intention of motivating adults to take a girl to a WNBA game (e.g. "Take a Girl to a Game" night). In addition, to engage those girls who are not located geographically near a WNBA team city, we are also working on ways to extend this concept to a virtual ��Take a Girl to a Game Night�� �V perhaps via web chats with players, or by tying some aspect of the initiative to watching a game on TV.

    Anticipated benefits for both organizations are not limited to, but potentially include:

    For Girls Inc. local affiliates and national organization:

  • The opportunity to promote visibility of the Girls Inc. mission and vision, and programs and public education initiatives (e.g. Girls Rights Campaign, literature on our programs, website, etc.) to an entirely new audience �V attendees of games in the WNBA arenas (mostly women and children) and other WNBA stakeholders (e.g. fans watching on television, WNBA sponsors, advertisers, etc.)

  • The opportunity for Girls Inc. girls as well as non-Girls Inc. girls who participate in the theme night to have access to and to focus on the WNBA league and players as inspirational role models. (We will work together to find ways to make access to games and/or materials related to the initiative available to Girls Inc. girls at little or no cost).

  • The opportunity to offer national and local Girls Inc. donors a more personal and intimate way to get involved with the Girls Inc. philosophy by connecting with a girl in their own lives through a fun WNBA-related event that is associated with Girls Inc. and the Girls Inc. mission.

    For the WNBA league and local teams:

  • A promotion that focuses on adults connecting with and serving as mentors for girls �V either girls in their own lives or Girls Inc. girls �V and that provides young girls with educational opportunities and fun activities in WNBA arenas.

  • Increased visibility and reason-to-buy for ticket sales at WNBA games through the Girls Inc.-aided promotion of the girl-themed nights at the arena.

  • Increased exposure of the WNBA brand to an audience committed to the growth and development of young girls.

    Anticipated target participants for this promotional idea are not limited to, but potentially include:

  • Any segment that would be particularly receptive to a girl-themed night (parents, caring adults, corporations or organizations that focus on girls, etc.).

  • Professional women's organizations (giving them a "cause related reason" to do something special with a young girl in their lives).

  • Wide range of Girls Inc. stakeholders including: Donors and friends of both the Girls Inc. national as well as local organizations, national and local staff, Girls Inc. girls and their families, etc.

    Anticipated vehicles for marketing this themed event are not limited to, but potentially include:

  • Inserting flyers/information about the themed night in national and local Girls Inc. stakeholder communications (e.g. website, donor mailings, newsletters, etc.).

  • Inserting information about Girls Inc. and the themed night in national and local WNBA communications (e.g. website, mailings, newsletters, etc.) as well as during game nights (e.g. programs, door or seat giveaways, Jumbotron announcements, etc.).

    To clarify opportunities and to ensure that all parties are comfortable with plans, the details of how communications from Girls Inc. sites and WNBA teams in local markets will be used to promote this effort will need to be determined by local Girls Inc. sites in conjunction with their local WNBA team.

    Next Steps
    Again, this is the rough outline of the first initiative planned for the partnership, but Karin Buchholtz, Director of Fan Development for the WNBA will be in touch with each of the teams and I, Catherine Fox, Director of Cause Related Marketing for Girls Inc. will work with the National Services Department to reach local Girls Inc. affiliates to get the ball rolling on how we can make this first initiative of the partnership a success. We expect to flesh these concepts out over the next week or so, and will be back in touch the week of March 18th to give an update on the planning process.

    In the meantime, please feel free to e-mail me at or call me at 212-509-2000 x233 with any thoughts or questions.

    We look forward to speaking with everyone soon!