WNBA Announces Innovative Blueprint, New Partnerships and Significant Prize Pool for Inaugural Commissioner’s Cup

– Players to Vie for Prize Pool of Half a Million Dollars –

– Commissioner’s Cup Games to Convene Fans, Players, and Partners in Local Communities for Ongoing Conversations and Programming Centered on Equality and Social Justice –

–  Amazon Prime Video’s First Global Partnership with a Women’s Professional Sports League Includes Streaming Rights to WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game –

 

–  Google, Deloitte and Wilson Headline Sponsors for Innovative Competition Platform –

 

May 12, 2021 – 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.