WNBA teams should be co-branded with NBA teams, reporter says: 'Why force people to learn about the Fever?'


The highly anticipated WNBA regular season debuts of Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink and others continue to make women’s basketball a hot topic in the sports world.

During the latest edition of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” former NBA beat writer and current “House of Strauss” author Ethan Strauss joined Simmons to share some of his ideas on how the WNBA can build on the unprecedented interest in its league. 

Strauss suggested that one of the WNBA’s past shortcomings revolves around how the league decided to brand its teams.

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A detail of the WNBA logo is seen on a basketball during warmups between the Seattle Storm and the Connecticut Sun at Climate Pledge Arena on June 20, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Strauss suggested that assigning names to WNBA franchises that are completely separate from the NBA team that plays in a given market has been a disservice to the fans and ultimately slowed the growth of professional women’s basketball in the US.

WNBA SET TO HAVE FULL-TIME CHARTER FLIGHTS FOR TEAMS BEGINNING THIS SEASON

2023 WNBA Draft logo

A view of the Wilson ball before the 2023 WNBA Draft on April 10, 2023 at Spring Studios in New York, New York.  (Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images)

“The one thing they should’ve done — and maybe there’s still time to do it — that they didn’t do from the outset is just use the same team names,” Strauss said. “Like, why force people to learn about the Fever? Why not just have the ‘W Pacers’? I think that makes it so much easier to just resonate and cut across.”

“Like how in college, how it will be ‘the Lady Gamecocks,'” Simmons replied.

Strauss argument centered around the idea that since the WNBA essentially operates as a “subsidiary of the NBA,” the league needs to find ways to differentiate itself from the men’s league.

Caitlin Clark30

Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark, middle, poses with general manager Lin Dunn, left, and head coach Christie Sides following a WNBA basketball news conference, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

It should be noted that not every WNBA team shares a city or an ownership group with an NBA franchise. Five NBA teams own an WNBA team — the Indiana Pacers (Indiana Fever), Minnesota Timberwolves (Minnesota Lynx), Washington Wizards (Washington Mystics), Brooklyn Nets (New York Liberty) and Phoenix Suns (Phoenix Mercury).

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In October, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced the Golden State Warriors were awarded an expansion team. The franchise’s inaugural season is scheduled to begin in 2025.

The new team will play its home games at the Chase Center in San Francisco but will be headquartered at Golden State’s former practice building in Oakland. The name for the new franchise is still being finalized.

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