WNBA expanding charter travel to include entire playoffs and specific regular season games

According to a report from the Associated Press, the league will pay for the flights which are expected to cost around $4.5 million.

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WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced the league will provide charter travel for the playoffs and certain regular season games.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Charter travel is expanding in the WNBA, the league announced Monday morning.

The league went from exclusively flying commercial to chartering flights in select instances and for the WNBA Finals and Commissioner’s Cup in 2022. The league will now charter flights for all postseason games, the Commissioner’s Cup and select regular season games that feature teams in back-to-backs.

“We continue the hard work of transforming the business of the league, and the ability to expand this program is a direct result of that,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “Since joining the league a few years ago, a goal of mine has been to enhance the overall player experience and, in that regard, make incremental improvements where we are able to do so and when we believe the economic model would support it for the long-term. I’m pleased that we are able to broaden the program this year for the players. As the league continues to grow, we will look to do more in the future.”

According to a report from the Associated Press, the league will pay for the flights which are expected to cost around $4.5 million.

The news comes on the heels of a free agency period in which travel took center stage.

League MVP Breanna Stewart used her free agency period to shed light on the league’s need for private travel accommodations, sharing on Twitter:

“I would love to be part of a deal that helps subsidize charter travel for the entire WNBA. I would contribute my NIL, posts and production hours to ensure we all travel in a way that prioritizes player health and safety, which ultimately results in a better product. Who’s with me?”

Her tweet received support from numerous players across the league including Allie Quigley, Kahleah Copper and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association.

The collective bargaining agreement signed ahead of the 2020 season did not include chartered travel but was upgraded to ensure players received premium economy status. The CBA runs through the 2027 season. This improvement indicates that the league does not have to wait for it to expire to continue making necessary changes to travel.

The Sky don’t have any back-to-back games scheduled during the regular season. Per the league’s announcement, they wouldn’t utilize the upgraded travel option until either the Commissioner’s Cup or the postseason.

“It’s a start,” Sky forward Isabelle Harrison tweeted after the announcement.

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