July 6, 2023 

What we know so far about Unrivaled, Napheesa Collier and Breanna Stewart’s new league

Circuit plans to play in Miami, set January 2024 start date

On Thursday, Napheesa Collier and Breanna Stewart announced a new league, Unrivaled, which plans to bring together 30 of women’s basketball’s best players to compete in the WNBA offseason.

Continue reading with a subscription to The Next

Get unlimited access to women’s basketball coverage and help support our hardworking staff of writers, editors, and photographers by subscribing today.

Join today

The new league will include both 3-on-3 match-ups and 1-on-1 match-ups, with 30 players participating on six teams. The 3-on-3 games will be played on a shortened full court. The games will all take place in one Miami location between January and March 2024, but Collier has noted that expansion is top of mind. Stewart and Collier have shared that they’ve received positive interest from a number of players, and according to Collier’s Twitter, Las Vegas Aces guard and All-Star Starter Chelsea Gray will be a founding player.

Collier and Stewart, who were both recently named 2023 WNBA All-Stars, founded Unrivaled with the intention of providing a strong domestic offseason option for WNBA players. This need has become even more essential with the league’s new prioritization rule, which prohibits players from missing WNBA training camp due to overseas commitments, despite most overseas competition ending in mid-May. Athletes Unlimited, which began in 2022, also aims to address this challenge, with a unique format featuring individual champions and weekly draft selections.

In conversation with ESPN, Stewart said “It’s the ability for players to stay home, to be in a market like Miami where we can just be the buzz and create that with the best WNBA players. We can’t keep fighting [the WNBA’s prioritization rule]. It is a rule that takes away our choices, which should never be a thing, especially as women, but it is still a rule.”

The league has not announced funding sources yet, but has stated that the aim is to raise money from both private funders and sponsorships that will pay participants a salary that is consistent with what they make in the WNBA. Players will also receive equity in the league.

In interviews with ESPN, Collier and Stewart both noted the direction of the women’s game as part of their drive to build Unrivaled. Stewart shared that right now, she feels we’re “missing a moment,” likely referring to the uptick in viewership and investment the women’s game has seen, despite many of the players having to travel thousands of miles overseas in the offseason. Collier noted “I think we’re in such a special time right now. People are finally starting to see the value of women’s sports.”

Both founders also included their families in their discussion of the importance of having a domestic league, with Collier citing the challenges of child care and missing her family as part of her desire to create something new. Stewart, whose wife Marta Xargay will give birth to their second child this fall, was questioning her overseas future. In a statement posted to Twitter, Collier stated “Stewie & I both have daughters. It’s our responsibility to show them & every young girl that looks up to us that sometimes you don’t have to wait your turn. You can either beg for a seat at the table or you can build your own table. We’re building our own table.”

Add Locked On Women’s Basketball to your daily routine

Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

The league does not have a website up currently, but launched its Instagram and Twitter handles today, which can be followed at @Unrivaledwbb.

Written by Cameron Ruby

Cameron Ruby has been a contributing writer for The Next since April 2023. She is a Bay Area native currently living in Los Angeles.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.