May 31, 2024 

‘Unrivaled’ 3-on-3 league set to debut in January, promises record salaries

On Thursday, Unrivaled announced an impressive list of investors

WNBA stars and former UConn teammates Breanna Stewart and Napheesa Collier are launching a new 3-on-3 basketball league called ‘Unrivaled’ that will debut in January 2025. 

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The league promises to pay players the highest average salary in women’s professional sports history, with each player earning a six-figure income and holding an equity stake in the league.

“Women’s sports is on such a rise, and it feels like everyone is benefiting from that except the women in the sport, and obviously that’s something we’re trying to change and then also create generational wealth for these women,” Collier told The Athletic’s Sabreena Merchant. “From the beginning, [Stewart] and I really set out to create a league that was founded on that principle that players deserve compensation and ownership that reflect their value.”

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Stewart told AP that Unrivaled aims to provide better financial opportunities for players who often spend the offseason overseas to support their WNBA incomes.

“It’s amazing, not only for the salaries to be similar or more than your WNBA salary but to be able to build brand partnerships that can’t come into the W or the NBA,” Stewart told AP. “It’s more than just an initial salary, but showing these companies who you are as a player.”

Former ESPN president John Skipper and former Turner Sports (TNT) president David Levy announced Thursday that they will be investing in the league.

“We’ve known each other for years, and we’ve been competitors, but we’ve been peers and friends as well, and we’ve done a lot of business together over those times,” Levy told The Hollywood Reporter.

On Thursday, Unrivaled announced an impressive list of investors beyond Levy and Skipper. The roster includes U.S. soccer stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, NBA legends Carmelo Anthony and Steve Nash, LPGA champion Michelle Wie West, former Warner Bros. chief Ann Sarnoff, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk and actor and investor Ashton Kutcher.

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“I would think that every major company that has a sports media component will want to look at this, we’ll take advantage of that to get in and present it, and David and my job is to find the best combination of rights fees and marketing support and even emotional and spiritual support,” Skipper told The Hollywood Reporter. “As I’ve always said, if you have one more bidder than you have packages, you have a robust market. I believe we’ll have a robust market.”

The league was announced last summer and will feature 30 players split into six teams, competing over an eight-week period.  

Written by Vishakya Deshpande

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