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Unrivaled basketball to be top-paying women’s pro sports league
(Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)

Unrivaled basketball to be top-paying women’s pro sports league

MIAMI (BVM) – Unrivaled is a new 3-on-3 women’s professional basketball league founded last summer by WNBA players Breanna Stewart and Napheesa Collier. The league is scheduled to tip off in January 2025 and will do so in historic fashion.

Recently, it was reported that Unrivaled will set the record for the highest-paying average salary in women’s professional sports history.

Speaking Thursday on FanDuel TV’s “Run It Back,” NBA Insider Shams Charania reported the league is expected to pay double the average salary of the WNBA which is around $120,000. Top salaries in the new league are also expected to be higher than what they are in the WNBA.

The exciting news for the new league comes in conjunction with Unrivaled announcing that it has closed a seed funding round before its launch in a few months. There is a long list of notable investors in the league thus far including former NBA players Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony, pro soccer player Alex Morgan, former USA soccer star Megan Rapinoe and former women’s golfer Michelle Wie West.

UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is also an investor in the league as are actor Ashton Kutcher, former ESPN president John Skipper, former Turner president David Levy and former Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, among several others.

“I believe it’s a good investment … that David and I and the other group of investors have the chance to be on the ground floor of something that I think is going to be quite impactful,” Skipper said via CNBC. “It’s a rare opportunity where we can create something … and don’t need to disrupt something else.”

Unrivaled will run opposite the WNBA season and could ultimately serve as a substitute for players who have had to go play overseas during the WNBA offseason in order to make money. The league plans to run from January to March, featuring 30 players across six teams. One of the unique facets of Unrivaled is that the 30 players who join in 2025 will also receive equity in the league.

The six-team, 3-on-3 league will be played in an arena in Miami that features a compressed full court. There are reportedly already at least 10 WNBA players signed on to join the league, including Collier and Stewart, but the rest of those names have not yet been disclosed.

The idea was ultimately spearheaded by Collier after talking with her husband, president of Unrivaled and trainer of numerous NBA and WNBA players, Alex Bazzell, about where the women’s professional game was at a couple of years ago.

“Obviously it sounds crazy at first,” Collier said in a story with the Washington Post. “‘We should create a league.’ It’s not like it’s just a ‘We should go out for ice cream tonight’ kind of thing.

“So, yeah, just started as a conversation randomly after a game, and then it formed into this thing where we can make so much change, and why wait for someone else to do it when we can do it ourselves?”

The Minnesota Lynx star joined forces with reigning WNBA MVP Stewart to make the league happen, capitalizing on an era where women’s professional basketball and women’s sports as a whole are becoming increasingly popular.

“The women’s game is at such a pivotal point right now … but unfortunately, still, the majority of the money that we make is off the court,” Collier said. “So we want to change that … to make money playing basketball.”

“Especially in the women’s world, this has never happened before,” Stewart said in an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America. “The average salary is the highest ever in a women’s league around the world, six figures, making sure that not only are we going to have the best product, but also the product is going to get what we deserve.”

More details are sure to come out about Unrivaled in the near future, but it already seems on the right path to becoming a truly groundbreaking league in women’s professional sports.

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