Athletes Unlimited and WNBA Partner Increasing Female Sports Presence

Pro women’s basketball games are appearing on more screens across the country.

Athletes Unlimited and the WNBA have teamed up to bring the second season’s AU basketball to WNBA League Pass. Athletes Unlimited subscribers will receive 25 games from the league’s live-streaming platform, which also hosts archived WNBA content.

This comes with the rise of alternative sports leagues.

“WNBA League Pass is the destination for women’s professional basketball and Athletes Unlimited is just the latest addition to our programming lineup,” WNBA Chief Growth Officer Colie Edison said in a release. “We are committed to expanding our direct-to-consumer offering with year-round content, bringing our fans closer to the game they love.”

Athletes Unlimited is hosting its second campaign in Dallas, beginning February 23rd. The five-week season will see 17 players with significant WNBA experience including 14 who were rostered in the 2022 season.

“With a number of WNBA players set to star in AU’s upcoming season, and with an additional group of talented, young players on AU rosters looking to make their mark, WNBA League Pass provides a terrific platform to further showcase these players and women’s basketball and a great leadup to the upcoming 2023 WNBA season,” Edison added.

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The innovative league offers a completely different product from the WNBA’s traditional basketball model. Each Athletes Unlimited league has four teams, which include softball, basketball, and lacrosse. Players earn points based on individual and team performance.

Women’s sports continue to gain traction but also have hurdles to overcome.

The player leaderboard is updated in real-time. At the end of each week, the top four points earners are elected captains of the reshuffled teams for the next week. Basketball is a game where individual stats drive much of the discussion. AU’s method of quantifying individual and team contributions works well.

Play wrapping up in March, Athletes Unlimited is a great lead-in to the WNBA’s 27 seasons. Officially, it begins with the 2023 WNBA Draft and officially starts just over a month later.

“I went straight from college straight to the WNBA, then it would’ve been straight to overseas,” NaLyssa Smith, who is embarking on her sophomore season in the WNBA, previously told Insider. “So I knew, like, as soon as the WNBA ended, I was gonna do AU because it gives you some time to prepare.”

“Then you go play AU, and you still get to compete at a high level,” she added. “It’s not you taking time off — you’re still going to compete, and you get to play with different people… I feel like this is gonna help me grow a lot.”

Subscribers to WNBA League Pass already have access to the majority of upcoming games. The streamers who are not available on the platform will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network with selected simulcasts from Women’s Sports Network or Bally Sports.

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