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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

WNBA Expands Charter Flight Program for 2023 Season

  • The program will now include all postseason games, the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship, and select back-to-back regular-season games.
  • In January, many free-agent discussions broached the charter flights topic.
New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu points out a play during a WNBA game.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

As women’s basketball continues to gain momentum, the WNBA is making strides to improve its issues with travel accommodations for players.

Ahead of the WNBA Draft on Monday, the league announced that it will expand its charter flights program for the 2023 season.

The program will now include charter flights for all postseason games, the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game, and select back-to-back scenarios in regular-season games.

The league had previously only allowed charter flights for the WNBA Finals, the Commissioner’s Cup Championship, and in specific, special circumstances.

“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,” said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “I’m pleased that we are able to broaden the program this year for the players.”

South Carolina Gamecocks forward Aliyah Boston (4) drives to the basket against the Maryland Terrapins during the second half at the NCAA Women's Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

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Private air travel has been a hot-button issue for the WNBA in recent years — most recently in January, when many free-agent discussions broached the topic.

It was previously reported that completely chartering flights for the league would cost the league $30 million per season — a figure the league couldn’t afford.

The New York Liberty were fined $500,000 last season for secretly chartering flights against league rules — which dictate that all teams must be able to afford the practice.

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