NEW YORK >> WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert focuses on about half a dozen scenarios to make the league play this summer
Engelbert didn’t go into detail about every scenario, but told The Associated Press today that the league is looking at playing in one location, a few at most instead of in every home arena.
“I feel really good about how things are evolving and unwinding now,” said Engelbert in a telephone interview. “There is no date (to start the season). We have had several conversations. No one is without a challenge.”
Despite the challenges, the Commissioner is optimistic “” we can have a season this summer. “
It is still unclear what that season will look like. The league has some extra flexibility in scheduling as it originally started most of July and early August for the 2020 Olympics. The Tokyo Games postponement gives the league a better chance for a full season.
“We have not left the table with a full season, while other scenarios have fewer games,” said the commissioner. “Much depends on the trajectory and the limitations in markets.”
During the nearly 30-minute interview, Engelbert often said that player health, league and team staff were paramount.
The Commissioner feels that she knows much more about the logistical and operational challenges, as well as the financial and medical hurdles, than when she postponed the start of the season in early April.
Engelbert said testing for the virus is clearly a big part of having a season. It is encouraged by the increase in the number of tests and their availability in the past two months.
“Things are opening up and starting to settle,” she said. “Medical experts are starting to feel better about testing and protocols. Much remains to be done.”
She said that in many of the scenarios under review, games are played without fans, but if that happens, the league would work with its broadcast partners to help expand the fan experience.
Engelbert said that while the WNBA is in constant contact with the NBA and shares many resources, including medical experts, the two leagues were unlikely to play in the same city and in the same city.
“I think it might be good for us to have our own sites,” she said. From the NBA or other professional sports. Many of the leagues look at the same cities. ‘
The commissioner said the league would start paying players on June 1 – the date they would be paid for the season. But talks are still ongoing between the union and the league.
The salary talks with the union include how the pay will work, the size of the roster and the salary limit that teams will have. The Commissioner expects more details to be worked out before the first check is cut. Most teams have already narrowed their squad to 15 players, with a few still down to 16.
It’s entirely possible that the teams will need up to 12 players to fit under the cap by June 1, meaning some can be cut without ever having been to a training camp.