In a news conference before Saturday’s All-Star Game, WNBA president Lisa Borders said she wants to see the league’s players paid more, adding that both the fans and the league are responsible for making that happen.
WNBA salaries have been a hot topic recently, particularly the gap between the percentage of league revenue that NBA players receive compared to the share of WNBA revenue that goes to its players. Borders said players “have no stronger advocate for higher salaries than myself.’’ But WNBA revenue must continue to increase, she said, to keep the league on solid financial ground and allow for more money to flow to players.
“We want to take a leadership role here,’’ Borders said. “But we also challenge society to support this league and support these women, because top-line revenue and top-line growth is part of the answer to the entire question. We are very much focused on growing the business so the players can get more, so there’s more all the way around.’’
Borders said the WNBA is “incredibly healthy.’’ Viewership on ESPN2 and NBA TV is up 35 percent, and sales in the WNBA Store have increased by 50 percent.
There remains “a lot of discussion’’ about expansion, but Borders said she has “no definitive answer’’ as to when the league might grow and what markets it would consider.
• Attendance was announced as 15,922, the highest since the 2007 All-Star Game in Washington drew 19,487. The number was the seventh-best of the 15 editions of the game.
• Celebrity players in the crowd included WNBA legends Sheryl Swoopes and Cynthia Cooper, as well as Apple Valley native and Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones.
• Former Lynx guard Renee Montgomery, who now plays for Atlanta, finished fifth of six contestants in the three-point shooting contest with 18 points. Montgomery wore the uniform top of Dream teammate Tiffany Hayes, who did not make the All-Star roster despite a strong season.