NEW YORK — Breanna Stewart and Napheesa Collier's 3-on-3 league Unrivaled is set to debut in January with players earning the highest average salary in women's professional sports league history.

Collier and Stewart said that all salaries will be six figures and that players will also have an equity stake in the league.

''It's really important to us,'' Collier told The Associated Press. ''Compensation is a huge part of Unrivaled as a league and a business. All the players in this first year will have equity in the league. For players to have a piece of the pie essentially to grow their generational wealth is something we're really excited about."

Stewart said that compensation was key for players, many of whom have spent their offseason overseas supplementing their WNBA incomes. The average WNBA base salary is about $130,000 with the top stars able to earn more than $500,000 through salary, marketing agreements, an in-season tournament and bonuses.

''It's amazing, not only for the salaries to be similar or more than your WNBA salary, but to be able to build brand partnerships that can't come into the W or the NBA,'' Stewart said. ''It's more than just an initial salary, but showing these companies who you are as a player.''

The league, which was first announced last summer, will run for eight weeks with the 30 players divided into six teams. The squads will play two games a week with the contests taking place on a court about two-thirds the size of a WNBA one. The teams will stay the same throughout the season.

Games will be four quarters long with less time in each quarter than a WNBA contest. Unrivaled President Alex Bazzell said that the rules will be released at a later date.

''This was built as a product,'' he said. ''It's meant to solve some of the things that I think just from an average fan's perspective watching women's basketball that is missing. It's space, it's pace. Some of the things that make the college game and NBA great to watch. At the same time it's not an All-Star game with trading baskets and everyone having fun. It's meant to bring out the best of the best to compete.''

The rosters will also be announced at a later date, but Stewart and Collier both said that a few WNBA All-Stars have already signed on.

Players will be housed about 15 minutes from the facility, which is a soundstage in Miami that's being built up.

''Stewie and I both have families and understand the importance of childcare,'' Collier said. ''Make sure the parents in the league are taken care of.''

Collier also said there will be weight rooms and recovery rooms so that players can take care of themselves.

The league added a strong group of investors to fund the launch. Theye include Carmelo Anthony, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Michelle Wie West, Ashton Kutcher, Steve Nash and Geno Auriemma.

''It's not just about the dollars, but the relationships they have. We've been very selected with the people we brought in,'' Bazzell said. ''Investing in women's sports there's a ROI for it now. We wanted to have a group of people we could call up and say 'Hey can you help in this area?'''

Former ESPN President John Skipper and former Turner President David Levy are both investors and will be spearheading the league media rights deal. Levy, who is the co-founder and co-CEO of Horizon Sports & Experiences will work on Unrivaled's sponsorship sales efforts.

''I've never seen a win, win, win like this on all aspects that there are no losers," Levy said. ''The fans win, the media companies win, the leagues win, the ladies win. It seems unusual to get all that lined up at a moment in time. It's like a penny stock that can go to a $10 in, you know, a year from now, two years from now.''

Levy said a few factors are driving this inflection point for women's basketball that include attendance, viewership, sports betting, engagement and branding.

''I don't think this is a one-off," he said. "Women's basketball and probably women's soccer are taking off in a very big way.''

Stewart said that the league has come a long way since the initial dinner two years ago when the idea of the league was first hatched.

''There's nothing not to like about it, the only thing people are scared of is that it's in its first year,'' Stewart said.

___

AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball