The WNBA championship has just restarted with 12 teams on the starting line, six teams in each conference. But the current format could soon change. The boss of the women’s league, Cathy Engelbert, has indeed assured the Seattle Times that the WNBA plans to add two new teams in the coming years.
« We are transforming the economy of the league.said the official, who has started a tour of the 12 cities concerned, including Seattle. We want to bring new owners into the league for the longer term. We have to find the right time to do it. We do a lot of data analysis. We will continue to do this analysis and, if all goes well, this summer, at some point, we will be able to say more. But we want to be careful about that. »
His announcement comes as some voices are raised to denounce a lack of places among the workforce. The 2018 MVP, Breanna Stewart, for example, suggested opening a development league or relaxing constraints to allow teams to sign one or two additional players.
In question, an increasingly widespread tendency among the formations of the league to indeed want to start the season with a group of 11 players, rather than a maximum of 12, in order to be able to pay them more.
“Stop saying it’s a league with 144 players”
« Stop saying this is a 144 league players »was thus annoyed the star of the Storm whose team had to cut four rookies last week. It’s not true. Look around how many teams are leaving with 11 players rather than 12, so it’s probably 130 or 140 (in total). But it’s definitely not 144. We can’t keep talking like we have all these players when we don’t. »
The situation is all the more paradoxical since a new collective agreement has been in force for two years and has allowed the big names in the league to see their salaries increase accordingly. Thus, according to Breanna Stewart, this new agreement “ is as much a blessing than a curse. Salaries are obviously better, as is the way we are treated. But we are losing players, fans. »
The two-time WNBA champion and Finals MVP regretted that there were so few drafted players to reach the professional world. ” Hey Cathy, come on, this needs to change right now “, she claimed, speaking directly to the commissioner.
« We don’t want to jeopardize our current momentum but we understand this problem of the size of the squad.”replied the latter. “But with a country of our size, when you only have 12 cities (with deductibles), expanding the league is also a way to achieve this. This frees up places in the workforce. I don’t think it’s a question of the number of players per team but of giving more opportunities to play for more players. »