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AT&T Becomes First Non-Apparel Company With Logo on WNBA Jerseys

The Seattle Storm celebrates after hitting a three-pointer against the Washington Mystics during game three of the WNBA Finals in 2018. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

AT&T will become the first non-apparel partner to have its logo featured on all WNBA jerseys as part of a new deal. The tech company and the league also plan to collaborate on programs that support women in sports.

The multi-year partnership will make the global communications and technology company the first tech brand to appear on the front of all 12 team jerseys throughout the league. The jerseys will debut during this week’s WNBA Draft held at Nike’s new NYHQ retail store in New York City.

AT&T’s brand will also be integrated into WNBA.com, the WNBA app, and WNBA social channels, as well as with broadcast partners ESPN networks and NBA TV. AT&T will additionally serve as a title partner of the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game, with on-court logo placement, signage, and activation opportunities in Las Vegas.

Further defining this partnership will be collaborative efforts between the league and AT&T to develop programming that supports women in sports. AT&T has been a long-time activist for gender equality in the workplace. The company created one of the nation’s first women’s employee resource groups four decades ago and in 2018 announced that it had met its goal to remove gender bias from its advertising and content as part of the Association of National Advertisers’ #SeeHer movement. (ANA is pushing for other companies to follow suit buy 2020.)

“The WNBA is deeply committed to empowering and inspiring women,” said Kerry Tatlock, senior vice president of marketing partnerships at the NBA. (The WNBA is part of the NBA’s league structure.) “AT&T’s groundbreaking commitment to our game, which is anchored on our shared values of diversity and inclusion, make it the perfect partner for the WNBA at this exciting time.”

Fiona Carter, AT&T’s chief brand officer, said the organizations plan to “create ways for basketball fans and for AT&T customers to engage in causes and communities” that are supported by this collaboration.

“Whether it’s women in sports, supporting small businesses like those owned by WNBA players, being a leading voice in LGBTQ rights, or giving back to communities in which we operate, we have much in common and many opportunities to empower these incredible athletes and their fans,” she said.

The NBA kicked off its own partnership with AT&T at the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend with AT&T Slam Dunk. AT&T is also involved with the NBA 2K League.

SportTechie Takeaway

In 2017, the NBA first allowed brands to pay to have their logos featured on player jerseys. Last year, the dating app Bumble—itself a staunch advocate of gender equality—took advantage of that opportunity by partnering with the LA Clippers in a deal that placed its logo in the top left corner of Clippers jerseys. The WNBA’s deal with AT&T represents a larger-scale version of this, enabling AT&T to splash its logo across every WNBA jersey.

The AT&T-WNBA deal is further underpinned by the technology company’s commitment to support women in sports. In announcing this partnership, AT&T and the WNBA did not specify details of what future programs might look like, though Carter noted that the two will support and promote side businesses owned and operated by WNBA employees.

In 2018, AT&T committed $1 million to Girls Who Code to continue supporting GWC’s summer coding camps for girls and the organization’s Sisterh>>d Campaign, designed to empower young women to pursue computer science and science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Many sports organizations are investing in STEM education, so perhaps AT&T may combine its STEM support and WNBA sponsorships in the future.

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