WNBA, Angel Reese, Charter Jet

WNBA To Provide Charter Planes To Help Ensure Players’ Safety

The new commitment extends full-time charter service throughout the regular WNBA season and is projected to cost nearly $25 million per year.

In a significant move aimed at addressing player safety concerns that have persisted for years, the WNBA has announced a commitment of $50 million over the next two years to provide full-time charter flight services for its teams during the season.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert unveiled this decision on Tuesday, May 7. According to The Associated Press, Engelbert revealed in a meeting with sports editors that the league is working to launch the charter program, which is estimated to cost nearly $25 million per year for the upcoming two seasons.

The new commitment extends full-time charter service throughout the regular season. The WNBA previously announced plans to cover charter flights for the entire playoffs and consecutive games during the upcoming season. A 2023 plan posed a program projecting an annual cost of approximately $4 million. Engelbert previously acknowledged the need for the league to be in a financially stable position to implement the initiative.

The decision to prioritize player safety through charter flights comes in the wake of an incident in 2023 in which Brittney Griner and her Phoenix Mercury teammates were confronted by a “provocateur” at a Dallas airport, the Associated Press noted. “The safety of Brittney Griner and all WNBA players is our top priority,” the league stated at the time. Griner was granted permission to book her own charter flights due to security concerns stemming from her highly publicized detainment in Russia.

Lynx forward Napheesa Collier emphasized the safety this initiative will provide for WNBA athletes, stating, “All these players and these faces are becoming so popular that it really is about that as much as it is about recovery,” Collier said.

The WNBA’s popularity has soared, fueled by the excitement surrounding 2024 draft picks like LSU forward Angel Reese, who, as BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, contributed to a surge in ticket sales after being drafted to teams like the Chicago Sky and the Indiana Fever. Fans have already secured tickets to witness the highly anticipated June rivalry between Reese and former University of Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, whose NCAA matchups drew long lines and packed arenas.

RELATED CONTENT: WNBA Golden State Team Names Ohemaa Nyanin As General Manager