The Commissioner’s Cup championship will be played on Aug. 12 and broadcast in a new rights deal with Amazon Prime Video.
The WNBA will introduce an in-season tournament named the Commissioner’s Cup in the upcoming 2021 season, per a release.
Every team will play 10 intra-conference games in the first half of the season that will be considered Commissioner’s Cup games. The the team with the best winning percentage in each conference in “Cup games” will face off on Aug. 12 in Phoenix.
The winning team will be awarded $500,000 to split among its players, along with a custom designed cup that will be passed on from champion to champion season to season, per Yahoo Sports’s Cassandra Negley. Players on the winning team will get over $30,000 each while members on the runner-up team can earn $10,000 each, and the game’s MVP will receive an additional $5,000.
The Commissioner’s Cup was supposed to be introduced in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented that from happening.
“One of the things we promised in the collective bargaining was increased player compensation through special competitions,” commissioner Cathy Engelbert told Yahoo Sports. “So the Commissioner’s Cup is a reflection of that promise we made and the idea to create a special in-season tourney actually came from the players themselves.”
The new tournament will also have a focus on social justice, something the WNBA has been at the forefront of in sports.
“That’s who we are as a league. That’s what we represent,” Sue Bird told Yahoo Sports. “You know, that’s where our focus is and has been for a really long time. Last year was kind of the pinnacle of it all. But it’s something that we’ve — we’ve always — it’s just been in our blood. It’s been in our DNA for a really long time.”
Along with the announcement of the new tournament, the WNBA announced a multi-year agreement with Amazon Prime Video. The deal gives Amazon exclusive global streaming rights to 16 WNBA games per year along with nine Commissioner’s Cup championship game.
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