The WNBA season is getting underway featuring Caitlin Clark’s debut and more. Here’s what you need to know.

Anticipation is high as the WNBA’s latest season tips off on Tuesday evening. With the formidable Las Vegas Aces and the up-and-coming New York Liberty front and center, plus the entrance of star player Caitlin Clark, the league’s trajectory is ascending sharply. Let’s dive into the essentials.

Opening Night Highlights:

Four must-see matchups are set for Tuesday night:

New York Liberty versus Washington Mystics

Indiana Fever takes on Connecticut Sun

Phoenix Mercury faces off against Las Vegas Aces

Minnesota Lynx clashes with Seattle Storm

Last year’s MVP Breanna Stewart has brought her talents to the Liberty, joining forces with notable names like Sabrina Ionescu, Jonquel Jones, Betnijah Laney, and Courtney Vandersloot. Though they were runners-up to the Aces last season, they’re looking stronger than ever.

The Fever is introducing the much-acclaimed Caitlin Clark to their lineup at a sold-out Mohegan Sun Arena—the first time in more than two decades, as highlighted in a recent press announcement. After a historic college career and being a top draft pick, Clark’s debut season is highly anticipated.

The champion Aces are without a doubt the squad to watch, coming off back-to-back championships, even with the departure of WNBA legend Candace Parker. The team still boasts talents such as A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, and Chelsea Gray.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Mercury will be missing Brittney Griner due to injury. After spending all last season incarcerated in Russia, her presence on the court will again be delayed.

The Storm is starting anew without Breanna Stewart, having brought in Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith to their roster, strengthening their already competitive lineup.

The first night’s games will be accessible through ESPN channels, and certain matches will also be on ESPN+, Disney+, and the WNBA League Pass. The rest of the games throughout the season will be broadcast on CBS, ESPN, ABC, ION, Prime Video, and NBATV. Regular season play runs through late September, with a mid-season break for the All-Star game on July 20 in Phoenix and for the Summer Olympics starting August 15.

The WNBA’s Expansion

The league continues to grow, thanks to both legacy players and impressive newcomers like Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso, Cameron Brink, and Rickea Jackson. Investment in the women’s league has spiked this year.

The WNBA’s tight knit of 12 teams and just a dozen spots each makes the cutthroat selection process a reality for draft picks. For example, the LA Sparks recently let go of 28th overall pick McKenzie Forbes despite a top draft season.

In more exciting news, the league is adding new teams: The Golden State Warriors are expected to launch a WNBA team by 2025 while Toronto is set to join by 2026, as announced by League Commissioner Cathy Englebert.

Englebert shared the complexity of expansion during a press event last month, citing the need for long-term committed ownership, among other requirements. Nonetheless, there’s strong optimism for the league to expand to 16 teams by 2028.

In other advances, the WNBA is leveling up benefits for its players, thanks to a new partnership with Delta Air Lines. This ensures players will no longer have to rely on commercial flights for travel to games.

Despite some teams still waiting for word on when charter flights will begin, this move has been celebrated by WNBA Players Association President Nneka Ogwumike as a transformational step for the league.

The spike in the WNBA’s profile has also opened up endorsement opportunities, with stars like Caitlin Clark signing a massive deal with Nike, who just announced an exclusive shoe line featuring A’ja Wilson. Meanwhile, a collaboration between Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS and the WNBA marks another milestone as the brand’s first time showcasing female players, adding to its multi-billion dollar valuation and existing partnerships with the NBA and Team USA.

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