The WNBA is indeed in thrive mode.
League commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced on Thursday the closing on a new $75 million capital raise for the league. The investment into the league, which comes from outside parties and existing WNBA and NBA owners, marks the the largest-ever capital raise in any women’s league in the country.
“We are incredibly fortunate to be able to capitalize on the current momentum around women’s sports,” Engelbert said in a statement, “and are grateful to the investors who have chosen to support the WNBA in an unprecedented way and to our team governors who continue to invest in the players and teams.”
Engelbert declined to reveal how much each of the 27 investors put in, but the pool includes: Nets and Liberty owners, Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, NBA legend Pau Gasol, former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and former Liberty great Swin Cash, the current New Orleans Pelicans Vice-President of Basketball Operations and Team Development.
The funds from the new capital raise will go towards revenue building aspects like: marketing in the league, building the W’s global presence (like the NBA and European soccer leagues) and fan engagement—which Engelbert specified will involve getting better at showing fans where merchandise is available and getting better at the supply and demand side of player jerseys for sale.
“I can’t find another word for it,” Engelbert later told members of the media. “For those of you that have been following us, I started a little over two years ago and you have heard me talk about business transformation that this league needed, now thanks to this access to capital, it’s definitely a huge step forward.”