It’s Time to Make WNBA Players the Face of Your Brand


The WNBA is unique in its own way for a handful of reasons. One could point to the league’s exclusivity, with just 144 players, even though expansion seems inevitable at this point. Others could point to the players’ commitment to social justice, the leagues 99% vaccination rate (as of June 28), the fact that the leagues Players’ Association is 100% female, the list goes on. One would hope that a league of athletes that not only support but fight for all the right causes would be booming in popularity. And while the WNBA’s ESPN viewership was up 74% this year a few games into the season, there is still so much room for growth.

How is said growth achieved? By investing in women. That phrase has been used frequently, which is great because it helps increase visibility. But the actions that come with that phrase need to be carried out for it to actually work.


The PAC-12 recently hired a new commissioner and during his introductory press conference, he dropped a rather alarming line: “I want to be clear. We know where the bread is buttered. We’re focused on revenue sports and winning in men’s basketball and football.” Yikes. Mind you, this quote was stated just over a month after the NCAA Women’s Basketball championship game featured not one, but two schools from the PAC-12. Candace Parker recently did a sit down with GQ Sports where she used the phrase, “Scared money doesn’t make money.” You’ve got to be willing to invest the same amount of money, time, and resources into women’s sports that you do men’s. How can one say that women’s sports isn’t profitable without giving the women’s side the chance to reach  full potential? Women’s sports can absolutely be revenue sports, but only if they are fully invested in.


Ten years from now (hopefully sooner), investing in women’s sports is going to seem like a no-brainer. Investing in women’s sports does not currently come with an immediate financial jackpot, but change does not come without sacrifice. The WNBA community knows that more growth is needed. After all, higher visibility for the league will help players earn more money when negotiating the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. Because of this, the members of the league (players, staff, and media) are so much more accessible than players of other major professional sports leagues. Meaning, it is completely reasonable for a brand that is yet to become mainstream to reach out to a WNBA player with the hopes of making that player the face of their brand.

There are many different approaches, too. Take a player like Isabelle Harrison, a proven forward for the Dallas Wings. At age 27, Harrison is entering the prime years of her career. Harrison recently did an Instagram takeover of GQ Sports, detailing her skin care routine, as well as her pregame outfit. Harrison always has her pregame outfits on point, often looking like she could have come straight off of a runway. The WNBA is filled with players that, like Harrison, could be the face of brands that sell a very wide range of products.


Rarely can an athlete promote something in-game, because there is very little wiggle room in most leagues uniform policies. However, in the WNBA, a player could promote a beauty brand by wearing their makeup during a game, or do the same for a lashes brand. Combine that with the rapidly growing popularity of WNBA players’ pregame outfits, and you’ve got a handful of opportunities. At this point, all 12 WNBA teams have adopted the habit of posting their players’ pregame outfits. Send a player some free gear, and you may just end up being posted to the teams’ social media, as well as the player’s. That’s some pretty good marketing, considering the only cost is giving away a garment for free.


But take it a step further. Find a player that has shown creative skill and give them some creative control. Send the player all of your products, give them the opportunity to make it a habit of rocking your different items. Do a collaboration with a player, have them give input on clothing designs, or on fragrances, or on hair care products. Invest in a player like Isabelle Harrison by paying her to occupy a creative director role of your brand. We’ve seen her pull up to games with fit after fit, imagine if she had a creative director role. Frankly, it’s shocking that no one has jumped on this chance yet.

The players in the WNBA have been leaders for years, and it’s time they are treated like so. It is important to remember that the WNBA is only 25 years old. It will need much more time than that to reach anywhere close to its full potential and popularity. But business owners are in a unique position to help expedite the growth of the league, and they can start by investing in the players themselves.

About John Thomas

    Recommended for you

    Powered by themekiller.com