The WNBA is investigating whether Vegas tourism authority can sponsor Aces players for $100K each (2024)

The WNBA is investigating whether Vegas tourism authority can sponsor Aces players for $100K each (1)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The WNBA is investigating whether the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s $100,000 annual sponsorship to Aces player for this season and next is allowed.

A league spokesperson confirmed Saturday that there is an open investigation looking into the deal. The sponsorship does not violate the WNBA’s salary cap because the Las Vegas authority did not orchestrate it with the club. But other teams likely were raising questions about the fairness of the sponsorship and whether it violates the spirit of the cap rules.

“I’ll put it to you real simple. Most of sponsorship people go after the top two people,” Aces coach Becky Hammon said. “This situation from what I understand is, they wanted the whole team. They called individual agents. I don’t know the details. I have nothing to do with it. The Aces don’t have anything to do with it. That’s what happened.”

This isn’t the Aces first run-in with the league over the last few years. Last year, the WNBA suspended Hammon for two games and took away the Aces’ 2025 first-round draft pick because the franchise violated league rules regarding impermissible player benefits and workplace policies.

“Just another day in the life of the Aces. We can’t just ever start normal,” star A’ja Wilson said. “There’s always going to be something and that’s OK. When we’re talking about growing the game or taking the next step it can’t always be investigated. It has to be like we’re trying to make things better for franchises, for players for teams.”

The head of the authority feels they did nothing wrong.

“We did this the right way,” authority president and CEO Steve Hill told The Associated Press on Saturday. “We did something that we think works for Las Vegas and I think great for the players. We did this without the team. It was our idea and any questions they ask they’ll find that out.”

The authority posted a video on X of Hill telling the players in the locker room the news on Friday.

“We have 100 influencers we pay to represent Las Vegas,” Hill told the AP. “This isn’t any different then that. All of these ladies are completely eligible to have sponsorships. We are just asking them to represent Vegas.”

The players were thrilled by the move.

“The city of Vegas I’ve always said, it’s a big small town and they just want the best for the people here,” point guard Chelsea Gray said before the Aces’ home game Saturday against the Los Angeles Sparks. “They’re investing in us and so they put their money where their mouth is. We’ve done so much for the city and having fun doing it.

“It was a great moment for me and my teammates, of somebody actually putting funds behind, saying that they’re supporting and they want to have our back.”

According to the website Spotrac, which tracks player salaries, the sponsorship is higher than the earnings of six Aces players.

“Definitely more than my salary,” said rookie Kate Martin, who makes $67,249, according to the website. “I’m super thankful. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, but this is very much real life and that is what all these players deserve. I wouldn’t be getting this crazy bonus if it weren’t for how great all of these players have played in the last few years.”

The $100,000 also is a big addition even to what the top players make. A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum are the highest-paid Aces at $200,000 each and Gray is right behind at $196,267.

“(For) the LVCVA to see our value and to help close that pay gap, it says a lot about the character of the people that are there,” said Alysha Clark, whose salary is listed at $110,000. “So I’m extremely grateful. I’m honored to be able to represent this organization and this city and be able to put on for the city, give back to this city and pour into the community, and that’s what they did for us. It was really, really special.”


AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg and AP freelance writer W.G. Ramirez contributed to this report.



Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The WNBA is investigating whether Vegas tourism authority can sponsor Aces players for $100K each (2024)


Who sponsors the Las Vegas Aces? ›

Las Vegas Aces
LocationParadise, Nevada
Team colorsBlack, silver, white
Main sponsorAlly Financial
PresidentNikki Fargas
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How much do Las Vegas Aces players make? ›

Young earns $252,450 a season, meaning she would get a 40% bonus. The other top earners on the Aces, Wilson and Kelsey Plum, each make $200,000 a year. For them the LVCVA's sponsorship pay would amount to half their base salary. Those salaries are a fraction of those earned by the highest-paid NBA players.

What is the WNBA Aces mascot? ›

BUCKET$ became the mascot and a symbol of good luck for the Aces.

How much are the Las Vegas Aces worth? ›

In fact, the Aces sit with a current evaluation of around $13.7 to $14 million. The good news, however, is that the number could grow after Tom Brady took a minority stake in the organization. Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis also owns the Aces, which bodes very well for their financial future.

Who sponsors the Las Vegas Raiders? ›

The National Football League's Las Vegas Raiders have signed a wide-ranging partnership with leading international brewing company Molson Coors.

Who approved the WNBA concept? ›

On April 24, 1996, women's basketball announced “We Got Next” as the NBA Board of Governors approved the concept of a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) to begin play in June 1997.

Who is number 7 for the Las Vegas Aces? ›

A. Clark

Who is number 10 on the Las Vegas Aces? ›

Kelsey Plum

Did the Las Vegas Aces sell out? ›

(AP) — The Las Vegas Aces have sold out 15 of their 20 home games. It's the most in WNBA history. Las Vegas in March became the first team to sell out its allotment of season tickets. The only games where individual tickets remain at Michelob Ultra Arena are Tuesday against the Phoenix Mercury, Aug.

Are Las Vegas Aces good? ›

Aces' offense continues to be one of WNBA's best

Last season, the Aces averaged a league-best 92.8 PPG. Even without Gray, they are now averaging 88.7, which is second in the WNBA -- and it would have ranked second in the final stats last year, too.

How much do Aces tickets cost? ›

You can find Las Vegas Aces tickets for as low as $14, with an average price of $150.

Did the Las Vegas Aces make history? ›

Las Vegas Aces sell out a WNBA-record 15 of 20 home games - ESPN.

What brands are official sponsors of the Vegas Golden Knights? ›

A1 GarageAAAAdvanced Imaging Solutions
GEICOGhost EnergyGolden Entertainment/PT's
Green Valley GroceryHealth Plan of NevadaHilton
Hotel CalifornianHoward HughesJack Daniel's
Klutch SpiritsKnight Real Estate GroupLas Vegas Review Journal
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What team owns the Las Vegas Aviators? ›

The team is wholly owned by The Howard Hughes Corporation®, developer of the award-winning master-planned community of Summerlin® and developer of Las Vegas Ballpark.

What is the new Las Vegas Aces logo? ›

The Las Vegas Aces are debuting a new Raiders-inspired logo and uniform for the 2024 WNBA season. The two-time defending champions are ditching the red, black and gold look. Instead, they'll wear a silver and black color scheme that falls in line with its NFL counterpart — Raider Nation.

Who sponsors the New Orleans Pelicans? ›

New Orleans Pelicans
Team colorsNavy blue, gold, red
Main sponsorIbotta
PresidentDennis Lauscha
Vice-president(s)David Griffin
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