NEW YORK – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announced today that Google will become a WNBA Changemaker through a new multiyear partnership that will drive engagement during many key moments throughout the year. As part of the partnership, Google will serve as Presenting Partner of the WNBA Playoffs and as an Associate Partner of WNBA All-Star on ESPN and the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Google is the fourth company to step up and become a WNBA Changemaker, joining the exclusive collective of current Changemakers AT&T, Deloitte, and Nike. As a WNBA Changemaker, the WNBA and Google will work together on developing innovative marketing initiatives, community-driven programming, and new Google product experiences for fans that will help elevate the league, WNBA players and women’s sports. The WNBA Changemakers platform is designed to provide direct support to the WNBA in its ongoing business transformation across marketing, branding, and player and fan experience. Changemakers are deeply invested in driving positive change for the WNBA, women’s sports, and women in society, and the platform catalyzes social change by offering Changemaker-only exclusive assets rooted in shared values such as gender, racial and LGBTQ+ equity.
“When we launched our WNBA Changemakers platform at the beginning of 2020, we issued a call to like-minded companies to join us in elevating women’s sports, and Google has answered that call,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “We are incredibly grateful to Google for becoming the latest WNBA Changemaker and for their platform of helpful products for everyone. Google’s support will be instrumental in driving our business transformation forward and demonstrates a commitment to the values we both stand for – including building sustainable equity.”
As part of this deal, Google will also become the Official Trends and Fan Insights partner of the WNBA, as well as an official marketing partner and technology partner of the league.
“For too long now, women’s sports have been underrepresented in the media. The WNBA has worked tirelessly to change that and has been at the forefront of progress for gender equity, racial justice, and sport. We are proud to partner with the WNBA and ESPN over the coming years to continue the charge and deliver on our commitment to gender equity and the future of women,” said Lorraine Twohill, CMO, Google. “It’s important to us that our product experiences are equitable for all genders and we want to make sure our media spend is equitable too, bringing more women’s content to television. With the WNBA and ESPN, we can help ensure women athletes get the recognition and media time they deserve, so that the world can see their incredible talents.”
Google will become the Presenting Sponsor of the WNBA on ESPN, collaborating with both brands to deliver “25 for 25” – 25 regular season ABC/ESPN nationally televised games to celebrate the 25th season of the WNBA. Additionally, Google becomes an Associate Sponsor of upcoming ESPN Films projects, including the 30 for 30 franchise. As an espnW Summit NYC sponsor, Google will be tipping off the conversation around the ESPN Film “144” on May 13th with WNBA All Star & ESPN Commentator Chiney Ogwumike. As a part of Google’s commitment to women’s sports, they will be presenting a montage of the week’s best sports highlights on SportsCenter beginning in May.
“ESPN has led the industry in its long-standing commitment to women’s sports across our programming and platforms, including as a founding telecaster of WNBA games and events 25 years ago and serving fans for over a decade through espnW,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN & Sports Content. “This new collaboration with the league and Google further extends our mission and dedication to elevating women’s sports, adding to the more than 16,000 hours of live sports programming we produce each year.”
Added Rita Ferro, President, Disney Advertising Sales, “At Disney, we strive to super serve our audiences with the best available content, and recognize that equity, inclusion and representation in entertainment and sports are table stakes. Our first-of-its-kind, combined relationship with Google and WNBA is an example of how we’re putting an emphasis on women’s sports and female athletes, answering the needs of our fans.”
ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment enterprise, features more than 50 assets – eight U.S. television networks, direct-to-consumer ESPN+, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and the ESPN App, ESPN International, and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through projects and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Google Shopping, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.
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, 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. In addition, 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.