July 15, 2023
Phoenix Mercury to host 2024 WNBA All-Star Game
Game will take place in July 2024, just before Paris Olympics
The Phoenix Mercury will host the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game at the renovated Footprint Center, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced on Saturday. This will be the franchise’s third time hosting the All-Star Game after also doing so in 2000 and 2014. Engelbert made the announcement just before the 2023 WNBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas.
“The WNBA is excited to bring AT&T WNBA All-Star back to Phoenix for the third time in our nearly three-decade history,” Engelbert said in the announcement. “Having an inaugural WNBA franchise in the Mercury host this two-day celebration is perfect as the basketball world focuses its eyes on the WNBA and today’s greatest stars.”
In an interview with ESPN, Engelbert expressed how enthusiastic Phoenix is about hosting the All-Star Game. She also mentioned that the city had already been selected to host the 2026 Women’s Final Four.
“With Phoenix being one of our original franchises, now under new ownership, they are very excited,” Engelbert said. “The city is also hosting a women’s Final Four coming up, and I think they want to be a center of basketball. So the Mercury were very interested in having All-Star.”
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The Mercury announced on Twitter that the WNBA Starry 3-Point Contest and Kia WNBA Skills Challenge will take place on July 19, 2024, followed by the All-Star Game on July 20. The opening ceremony for the 2024 Olympics will take place less than a week later, on July 26 in Paris.
In 2021, the WNBA held the All-Star Game in Las Vegas nine days before the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics. (The Olympics had been postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) That All-Star Game had a special format, with Team WNBA competing against Team USA. Team WNBA took the victory, and Arike Ogunbowale was named the game’s MVP.
Before 2021, the WNBA had typically not held All-Star Games in Olympic years, and it remains to be seen whether the 2024 format will be the same as in 2021.
Mat Ishbia, the owner of the Phoenix Mercury and Suns, expressed gratitude to the WNBA for allowing the city to host the All-Star Game.
Ishbia, who became the teams’ owner in February, has implemented personnel changes and invested in both the Suns and Mercury. On Monday, he announced the hiring of Nick U’Ren as the Mercury’s new general manager.
“As I’ve said from Day 1, we are going to make Phoenix one of the leading basketball destinations in the world and the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game is going to be an unbelievable experience,” Ishbia said in the WNBA’s announcement. “As the women’s game continues to grow and reach new heights, we are going to put on an All-Star weekend that will accelerate that growth and elevate the league.
“I want to thank the WNBA and the entire Phoenix community for coming together to help bring the WNBA All-Star Game to the Valley. I couldn’t be more excited to show the world what Phoenix basketball is all about.”
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Ishbia also noted in an interview with AZCentral that multiple WNBA teams expressed interest in hosting the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game, so having Phoenix selected was a significant accomplishment.
“For us to come out there and be the obvious choice for the WNBA was a big deal,” Ishbia said.
2024 will be the sixth time in the last seven All-Star Games that a Western Conference team has hosted, following Seattle in 2017; Minnesota in 2018; and Las Vegas in 2019, 2021 and 2023. The game was not played in 2020, and Chicago hosted in 2022.
Written by Aya Abdeen
Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next Hoops since December 2022. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.