WNBA announces innovative blueprint, new partnerships and significant prize pool for inaugural Commissioner’s Cup

NEW YORK – As part of the WNBA’s focus on innovation, the league will launch its inaugural Commissioner’s Cup in-season competition during the upcoming 2021 season.  Conference rivalry bragging rights, a unique Commissioner’s Cup trophy and a prize pool of a half a million dollars will all be at stake when the inaugural WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game is played on Thursday, Aug. 12, at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Ariz.  The Championship Game will be the culmination of the WNBA’s first annual, in-season competition that designates a portion of regular-season games in the first half of the season – 10 per team, 60 in total– as Commissioner’s Cup play, the WNBA announced today.

Exclusive live coverage of the Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game will be streamed by Amazon Prime Video as part of a multi-year agreement announced earlier today that gives Prime Video international streaming rights to 16 WNBA games per season, including nine Commissioner Cup games and the Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game. The Cup games will also serve as an opportunity to continue the WNBA’s work to foster social justice and highlight important conversations and programming centered on equality with fans, players and partners.

Demonstrating their continued commitment to the WNBA during its 25th season, official sponsors and WNBA Changemakers Deloitte and Google, along with Wilson, the Official Game Ball of the WNBA, will be promoting and activating around the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup events as part of their support for the league’s innovative marketing and community-driven initiatives.

“To have the Commissioner’s Cup come to life in this historic 25th WNBA season is a testament to the players, fans, partners and WNBA teams who have supported and driven innovation at the league,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.  “Together, we view the Commissioner’s Cup not just as a compelling competition, but as a multi-faceted platform designed to drive opportunities for broader fan engagement, create additional interest around our regular season games, convene around equity and equality themes in our WNBA markets, and provide the players with an opportunity to earn significant cash compensation.”

Regular season action will take on an added level of importance as 60 select, intra-conference “Cup games” will determine the Eastern Conference team and Western Conference team that will advance to the first ever Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game.

“Cup games” will be the first home game and first road game each team plays against its five conference rivals, all set to take place in the first half of the season between Friday, May 14, and Sunday, July 11, prior to the in-season break due to the Olympic games.  The complete schedule of “Cup Games” can be found here.

The team from each conference with the highest winning percentage in “Cup games” will earn a berth to the Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game on Aug. 12.

The title game on Aug. 12, which will refocus the spotlight on WNBA stars prior to the resumption of regular-season action for all 12 teams on Sunday, Aug. 15, will see players vie for a piece of the $500,000 prize pool.  Members of the winning team will be able to earn in excess of $30,000 per player, while those on the runner-up team will have an opportunity to earn $10,000 per player.  An additional $5,000 will be awarded to the MVP of the Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game.

Amazon Prime Video’s WNBA coverage tips off on Saturday, May 29, as guards Chennedy Carter, Courtney Williams and the Atlanta Dream travel to the Big Apple to take on Sabrina Ionescu and newly acquired 2020 WNBA champion Natasha Howard and the New York Liberty.  This matchup will be the first time Prime Video has exclusive international streaming rights to a professional basketball game.

The WNBA on Prime Video will be available across hundreds of compatible devices worldwide as part of a Prime membership (excluding China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy).  Prime Video games will be distributed in the participating teams’ markets through the teams’ local distribution partners.

About the WNBA
Entering its 25th season in 2021, the WNBA is a bold, progressive basketball league that stands for the power of women.  Featuring 12 teams, the W is a unique sports property that combines competition and entertainment with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and social responsibility.  Through its world-class athletes, the in-game fan experience, TV and digital broadcasts, digital and social content and community outreach programs, the league celebrates and elevates the game of basketball and the culture around it.

In 2020, the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) signed a groundbreaking eight-year CBA that charts a new course for women’s basketball – and women’s sports overall – with a focus on increased player compensation, improvements to the player experience, expanded career development opportunities and resources specifically tailored to the female professional athlete.  Key elements of the agreement are supported through the league’s new partnership platform, WNBA Changemakers, with AT&T, the WNBA’s Marquee Partner and inaugural Changemaker, as well as fellow inaugural Changemakers Deloitte and Nike, and the recent addition of Google. During the 2020 season, the WNBA and WNBPA launched the WNBA Justice Movement forming the Social Justice Council with the mission of being a driving force of necessary change and continuing conversations about race and voting rights, among other important societal issues.

For more information, visit WNBA.com.

About Prime Video Sports
Prime Video supports a growing line-up of live sports globally, including Thursday Night Football, the New York Yankees, and Seattle Sounders FC in the United States; Premier League in the United Kingdom; U.S. Open Tennis, ATP, and WTA in the United Kingdom and Ireland; UEFA Champions League football in Germany and Italy; Roland Garros in France; Australian Swimming globally; and New Zealand Cricket in India. While availability varies by marketplace, fans can also subscribe to streaming services such as Eurosport, LaLigaTV, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, NBA TV, and PGA TOUR LIVE through Prime Video Channels. This is in addition to a selection of Amazon Original All or Nothing sports docuseries including All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur and All or Nothing seasons with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines. All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs and All or Nothing: Juventus are also coming to Prime Video later this year. For more information, visit amazon.com/primevideo and follow @SportsOnPrime on Twitter and Instagram.

Prime Video is just one of many shopping and entertainment benefits included with a Prime membership, along with fast, free shipping on millions of Prime-eligible items at Amazon.com, unlimited photo storage, exclusive deals and discounts, and access to ad-free music and Kindle eBooks. To sign up or start a 30-day free trial of Prime, visit: amazon.com/prime.

About Amazon
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

About Deloitte
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