The Washington Mystics announced Thursday that Inova Health System will be its marquee sponsor, purchasing ad space on the front of the players’ jerseys. Instead of reading Mystics, the jersey will read the health care company’s complete name.
Phoenix began the trend in 2009, linking with LifeLock. Los Angeles (Farmers Insurance) and Seattle (Bing) followed. New York signed with Foxwood Resort Casino last season, etching “Foxwood” across the Liberty jerseys.
Connecticut, which plays in its owner’s facility, is one of the few WNBA teams making a profit. Selling the jersey space was spearheaded by former WNBA president Donna Orender to help teams reach their financial goals, reports stating teams receiving at least $1 million annually. Before resigning in December, Orender anticipated all 12 teams sporting a sponsor.
The NBA is discussing following the WNBA’s lead, already doing so for its D-League, while the NFL sells sponsorships for practice jerseys. The MLS uses corporate sponsorship to name its teams, also displaying the logo on uniforms, while overseas WNBA players are often laced in numerous sponsors on their jerseys.
Mystics stars Alana Beard (pictured right) and Crystal Langhorne helped the team showcase the jerseys, wearing the home (white) and away (red) version. The officials didn’t disclose financial figures to reporters but stated it was the largest in the franchise’s 14-year history.
In addition to branding on the jersey, the multiyear deal also includes Inova Health System’s designation as the presenting partner of Mystics and Wizards Youth Basketball Camps. The company, which operates five hospitals in the D.C. area, receives co-branding on signage pertaining to camps and clinics, in-arena recognition at all Mystics and Wizards home games, and presence in marketing and social media platforms.
“The shared vision of both Inova and the Mystics is key to this partnership as both organizations are focused on improving the communities in which we work, live and play,” said Greg Bibb, Mystics COO.
The WNBA added to the announcement, stating adidas unveiled new uniforms with Revolution 30 technology and women’s basketball specific TECHFIT base layers, according to a news release.
Designed and developed by adidas and using the same technology in the NBA, the uniforms are 30 percent lighter and dry twice as fast as previous WNBA uniforms to help keep athletes cooler, drier and more comfortable on the court.