August 25, 2021 

Inside the WNBA’s partnership with Top Shot

What partnership with digital trading card platform means for the league

The WNBA and Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) announced a new partnership with Dapper Labs on Wednesday to launch WNBA Moments on the Top Shot platform. Top Shot will allow fans to buy, collect and trade virtual “trading cards”–called nonfungible tokens (NFTs)–of WNBA highlights featuring league superstars.

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Top Shot, which has been a partner of the NBA since July 2019, represents the future of the online trading card market. The partnership, brokered with the support of OneTeam Partners, a group licensing, marketing and media partner of the WNBPA, will allow the players association to monetize their name, image and likeness rights through the online sale of NFTs.

“It’s awesome we get to represent the greatest women athletes in the world in the W…it’s part of our mission to explore cutting-edge, innovative ways for those players to connect with their fans,” said Devin Redford, Senior Vice President of Games at OneTeam, “We are created to commercialize the group rights of athletes…the collective power of these amazing athletes together is so much more than any one individual.”

Terri Jackson, Executive Director of the WNBPA, emphasized the value of group licensing agreements such as this partnership with Top Shot to bring in revenue to support the player’s association. She shared with The Next that the WNBPA has always held group licensing rights, but has only recently begun to leverage those rights to bring in revenue to support the player’s union.

“This is what is valuable to us,” Jackson said. “This is what we have that we can monetize and bring in additional revenue as the player’s association…As long as we recognize that we’ve got to pull in the same direction when we do that, all boats will rise. So what [the players] have seen in the t-shirt space, the bobblehead space, in the trading card space and now with Top Shot in this digital trading card space is there are opportunities for all of them to benefit.”

The first-ever WNBA pack will drop this Friday, August 27. Starting Wednesday, fans can guarantee a spot to purchase by signing up and registering on the Top Shot site.

“These are the types of opportunities we’ve been looking for for years,” said Terri Jackson. “Because the players are who they are, what they do on the court as well as off the court…folks are paying attention and recognizing that [WNBA players], too, are to be valued along some of the professional athletes that have been out there for awhile now.”

Written by Tee Baker

Tee has been a contributor to The Next since March Madness 2021 and is currently a contributing editor, BIG EAST beat reporter and curator of historical deep dives.

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