The WNBA has signed a multiyear deal with Parity, a company that helps connect female athletes with sponsorship deals.
According to Insider, just 0.4 percent of total sports sponsorship is devoted to women's sports and athletes. For every dollar a company invests in endorsement deals for men's sports, less than half a penny goes to the women's game.
Parity hopes to change that equation. The company is already working with more than 600 athletes from 40 different sports, attracting major brands such as Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Strava and Thule.
"We have some much more large level, internationally known, huge corporate clients," Alana Casner, Parity's vice president of Content & Strategy, told Insider. "And then we also have some small niche clients and a lot of up-and-coming startups that are like, 'Wait, this is absolutely a space we want to play in and thank God that you guys do this and we can make this happen.'"
WNBA Players Association president and Los Angeles Sparks superstar Nneka Ogwumike said the deal is aimed creating pay equity for female professional athletes.
"Pay equity has always been a point of emphasis for us when we're advocating, not just for ourselves, but for women in the workplace," Ogwumike said. "Talking about supporting women is easy, but doing it takes another level of perspective and awareness to really step into that."
The effort is aimed at helping all WNBA players land sponsorship deals, regardless of whether they’re a superstar.
"A lot of our discussions as [WNBPA] executive committee members were about making sure that no players left behind," Ogwumike said. "So for a lot of players that may not necessarily be first in line to get the big deal or the ones who are considered more mid-level market players, this is a perfect way to ensure that everyone is valued. That's certainly something that I was happy about when I was in discussions with Parity."