The WNBA continues it's growth, announcing the league will have six participating WNBA players in this year's Player Marketing Agreement(PMAs). The list includes Seattle Storms's Jewell Loyd, Indiana Fever center Aliyah Boston, Connecticut Suns's Brionna Jones, Atlanta Dream guard Rhyne Howard, Washington Mystics forward Shakira Austin, and Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale.
The newest cohort of Players participating in the WNBA’s Player Marketing Agreement (PMA)— Sara Jane Gamelli (@SaraJGamelli) January 11, 2024
Brionna Jones.#wnba #wnbatwitter pic.twitter.com/OaMLctyFpn
A part of the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), there's been significant focus on foundational support in Women's Professional Basketball. With that said, in the agreement, the WNBA must contribute up to $1 million annually to the program. Overall, it's a program for athletes to grow their own brand, earn income, and market the WNBA.
Now in it's third year, players such as Jasmine Thomas benefited from the program considerably back in 2022. Thomas, along with several W players, often supplement their income by playing overseas in the offseason. By heading overseas, most players don't truly have an offseason, which can be exhausting on the body. After tearing her ACL, playing overseas was not possible. That's where the PMAs came in. It's important to note players who sign the Player Marketing Agreements do so for various reasons.
A huge marketing opportunity for these women and the league, each will serve as brand ambassadors, earning up to $250,000 each. The program will additionally give these six athletes a chance to earn extra income while staying stateside. Overall, it highlights these incredible women, providing a sustainable career path outside of basketball.
The 2024 cohort has a combination of 13 all-star appearances, and includes three former No. 1 overall picks. Aliyah Boston, a former No. 1 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft, became the first rookie to start an All-Star game since 2014. Three of the best guards in the league, Ogunbowale, Howard, and Loyd combined for 63.4 points per game last season. Down from 10 participants last year, this year's members feature a mix of both young and veteran players.
Former WNBA rookies of the year, Howard and Boston are first time participants. Ogunbowale, Jones, and Loyd are entering the prime of their careers.
WNBA League of Operations Bethany Donaphin spoke about the program's development extensively. “We want to make sure that the world knows who WNBA players are,” said Donaphin. “We’re seeing brands really show up, and I want to see that continue to grow because it’s an important component about how we really market the league and how players can build their own individual brands.” (Andscape).
Makeup, hair, personality and more ✨— WNBA (@WNBA) January 11, 2024
Here’s a BTS look at our day spent with stars from across the W! pic.twitter.com/39qLQA4Zya
For Ogunbowale, this is her second year in the program. The Dallas Wings guard was featured in a google ad last season, the same year the Dallas Mavericks and the Wings announced a historic partnership. With that, the Mavericks became the official jersey sponsors of the Wings. She was even featured in a State Farm commercial with Mark Cuban.
Known for her defensive prowess, Austin will miss several months of playing time due to a labrum tear in her left hip. Jones, who missed most of the 2023 season with an achilles injury, is a double-double machine, and an amazing leader.
Under Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, the WNBA saw the most growth and viewership in two decades. With all the momentum, the time is now for these players. Heading in 2024, the league is looking to capitalize off last season's success and add to it. Often, Englebert's talked about the leagues economic model along with her vision to transform the WNBA.
With fresh faces in this year's campaign, these athletes will continue to market and promote associated brands, such as Skims, Google, and Mielle Haircare.
It's a huge opportunity," Jewell Loyd told CBS Sports Erica Ayala. "I want to just get more awareness, obviously, more resources, things like that, but I want to be myself. I think it's a really good experiences for people to understand who I am and what makes me, me."
A huge opportunity, the program will shed light on these athletes, along with the growth and development of the WNBA.
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Sara Jane Gamelli is a full-time Sportswriter at Ballislife, and Sports Content Creator on Twitch and TikTok. She has a focus on the NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, and the NFL. Sara Jane currently resides in Connecticut/NYC area with her Cat and Dog. SJ has her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Economics, with a minor in business administration.Tweets by ballislifewbb_