The Las Vegas Aces and NY Liberty increased 2023 season ticket sales
The GIST: The WNBA’s superteams are scoring super business wins. Before the WNBA season tipped off last Friday, both the Las Vegas Aces and NY Liberty reported increased 2023 ticket sales thanks to the buzz surrounding both teams’ new roster additions.
The details: Aces season ticket sales rose from 4K in 2022 to 5.5K this year, while Liberty season ticket memberships jumped 200% (!!!) YoY. The Brooklyn-based team also enjoyed “significant” increases across all ticket categories, including single-game and group purchases.
- Players on both teams say they felt the hype ahead of the season, especially in the Big Apple. Hundreds recently turned up to a Liberty open practice, where Sabrina Ionescu (pronounced yo-NESS-coo) signed autographs and snapped selfies. Let’s hear it for New York.
The strategy: Commissioner Cathy Engelbert specified rivalry development as one of the league’s top marketing plays, and the superteam era is already delivering. ESPN also plans to embrace the cross-country storyline and will air seven Aces games and nine Liberty fixtures during the regular season.
Zooming out: Compelling narratives are the most authentic way to build the WNBA’s brand, and should translate into tangible returns like game day revenue for teams and viewership. The same was true for Iowa’s run to the March Madness championship game this year, when record-smashing audiences tuned into ESPN to watch Caitlin Clark.
- The knock-on effect should also provide benefits for players if Clark and LSU champ Angel Reese are anything to go by. Iowa paused season ticket sales because of unprecedented demand, and Reese’s name, image, and likeness (NIL) valuation went from $371K to $1.4M post–March Madness. Sky’s the limit.