The Lynx are actively looking for a jersey sponsor like the Los Angeles Sparks, their opponents tonight at Target Center, already have.

Nowhere on Sparks jerseys is there a hint where the team is from or what their team name is. Instead, the Farmers Insurance Group logo is on the front of their yellow jerseys and, beneath that, in big red letters, is the word Farmers.

Call it a sign of the troubled economic times.

"We absolutely will look to do the same," said Conrad Smith, the Lynx's chief operating officer. "We've thrown it out to a couple companies, Best Buy and Target. We think it's a great thing for the [WNBA]. It's substantial revenue. We'd love to get a sponsor."

Even though the season has begun, the Lynx still could get a sponsor for the second half, Smith said.

"To get in the game, we'd look at that," he said. "I guaranteed you, all the teams are going to go this way. It makes too much sense."

The Sparks and Farmers Insurance Group, which sells insurance and financial services to more than 10 million households, reached agreement on a multiyear marketing partnership on Friday. Terms were not disclosed.

This deal was completed four days after the Phoenix Mercury and LifeLock, an identity theft protection company, announced the first such jersey sponsorship in WNBA history. The Mercury will receive at least $1 million annually through 2011 from LifeLock through.

Smith said the WNBA has set a benchmark of $1 million for a jersey sponsorship.

That's big money for a league struggling to find its niche in the sports landscape and with a salary cap of $803,000 per team.

Rosters were cut from 13 to 11 players this year. Teams have to limit traveling parties to 16. Even media guides have become extinct.

Jersey sponsorships in professional soccer are common. They are unusual, though, for American pro basketball leagues.

WNBA President Donna Orender is supportive of jersey sponsorships. She said they are consistent with the league's innovative mindset.

Some sports columnists around the country have criticized them as a sign of desperation or crass commercialism.

Lynx star Seimone Augustus has a different view. She said she gladly would wear the name of any company on her jersey.

Her pick? "Whoever pays the most," she said. "I don't know: McDonald's, Wal-Mart. I don't care, as long as they pay the money and keep the Lynx going."