07 Feb Nike Becomes Equity Investor In The WNBA
Nike, Inc. announced it had become an equity investor in the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association), following its 25-year commitment to the league. The WNBA overall raised $75 million from investors.
In a statement, Nike said the partnership “would allow the company to help grow the league by crafting authentic storytelling, offering widened visibility for WNBA athletes and establishing additional grassroots opportunities for girls to play basketball. Through this investment, Nike’s goal is to equip the league with the necessary resources to accelerate its growth in the long term.”
“Women’s sport is one of the best investments with great potential to impact and grow the next era of basketball,” said Sonja Henning, VP, NA leagues partnerships, Nike, Inc. “Nike has always been more than a sponsor with the WNBA. We’re a strategic partner, and we’re proud to be part of a movement that is redefining sport for a new generation, for WNBA players, fans and girls.”
“Nike’s investment is not just a signal of how powerful the movement around women’s sport is, but signifies its support for the vision of the WNBA and that the time is now to redefine what it means to support women’s basketball,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “We couldn’t be more grateful to Nike for its steadfast support of our league and the current and next generation of WNBA stars, and we look forward to building on our longstanding relationship in an exciting new way.”
In a separate statement, the WNBA said Nike’s $75 million investment was the greatest dollar amount raised for a women’s sports property, featuring new investors and existing WNBA and NBA owners.
Other new investors include Dell Technologies (CEO Michael Dell and Laurene Powell Jobs, philanthropist and the widow of Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs) and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Proceeds from this transaction will be used for brand elevation and marketing, globalization, innovation, digital, growth of consumer touchpoints, human capital, and operational optimization.
“We are incredibly fortunate to be able to capitalize on the current momentum around women’s sports and are grateful to the investors who have chosen to support the WNBA in an unprecedented way and to our team governors who continue to invest in the players and teams,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “Our strategy is to deploy this capital to continue to drive the league’s brand as a bold, progressive entertainment and media property that embodies diversity, promotes equity, advocates for social justice, and stands for the power of women. Having just completed our historic 25th season, with this access to additional capital, we are setting the WNBA up for a successful future, and it represents a sign and signal of the future direction of women’s sports as a whole.”