May 21, 2024


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The WNBA will begin full-time charter flights this season

The WNBA will begin full-time charter flights this season

The WNBA plans to allocate $50 million over the next two years to provide full time Charter flight service On Tuesday, the league commissioner announced his teams for the season, in a move that addresses years of absence Player safety concerns.

“We intend to fund a full-time charter for this season,” Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a meeting with sports editors.

She said the league will launch the program “as soon as we can get planes in place.”

Engelbert said the program will cost the league about $25 million annually for the next two seasons.

The WNBA already announced at last month’s draft its plans to once again pay for charter flights for the entire playoffs as well as back-to-back games during next season that require air travel.

The league’s schedule features more back-to-backs this season with the WNBA taking an extended break for the Olympics in late July and early August. The league spent $4 million on charters in 2023.

Engelbert said before the WNBA draft that the league would have to be in the right financial position to lease the Jets.

The WNBA is attracting more attention than ever thanks to… Rookies like Kaitlyn Clarkwho helped the NCAA reach the best viewership in women’s basketball history, with nearly 19 million fans watching the title game, along with Angel Reese, who went to the Met Gala on Monday night, and Cameron Brink.

Clark attracted attention as she walked through the airport with her new Indiana Fever teammates Preseason game With the Dallas Wings last week. This show was sold out with fans lining up eager to get in.

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WNBA teams also moved games against Clark and Indiana To larger arenas Due to increased demand.

Minnesota Lynx forward Nafisa Collier said flying charter planes poses a safety issue as the names, stars and fans grow. She pointed to a video showing Clarke surrounded by her bodyguards at the airport and trying to protect Brittney Griner last year while traveling.

“All these players and these faces have become so famous that it’s as much about this as it is about recovery,” Collier said.

Flights have been an issue for the WNBA that has only increased in the past year with the league Working with Greiner And Phoenix Mercury. They had to fly commercial, and the All-Star center who had been detained in Russia for nearly 10 months was harassed because of what the WNBA did. It’s called “provocative.”

The league has only allowed teams to use charter flights when they have back-to-back games.

That has forced players like Breanna Stewart, the 6-foot-4 forward for the New York Liberty, to pressure fellow travelers on commercial flights to fit into her assigned window seat. WNBA players also had to not only retrieve their own luggage, but endure travel days that could span 13 hours with delays.