The WNBA All-Star Weekend set a record for merchandise sales in Chicago, Illinois. And it was the first time the Windy City had the honor of hosting the WNBA’s midseason showcase. Per multiple sources, merchandise sales increased 50% this past weekend over the now second-best selling 2018 All-Star Weekend, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The figure includes earnings from Wintrust Arena, merchandise sales at hotels and revenue from “WNBA Live.”
During WNBA All-Star Weekend, Team Wilson defeated Team Stewart 134-112 on Sunday. Kelsey Plum for Team Wilson won All-Star Game MVP. Plum is a guard for the Las Vegas Aces. She was the leading scorer with 30 points, tying Maya Moore’s 2015 All-Star Game record.
Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley made WNBA history when she became the first player to win four 3-point shooting contests.
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WNBA All-Star Weekend sets record for merchandise sales
Moreover, Chance the Rapper and Latto performed at McCormick Place for the WNBA Live’s inaugural season. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert decided not to allow fans into the rappers’ concert due to security concerns. Aside from live music, perhaps increased sales can be contributed to the league’s new two-day event known as “WNBA Live.”
Regarding the WNBA All-Star voting process, league office officials decided to stick with a similar selection procedure as the one used in 2019. The vote weight was split three different ways: 50% for fans, 25% for WNBA players and 25% for the media. Of course, players were not allowed to vote for their own teammates.
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Did the 3-point shooting contest and skills competition increase sales and viewership?
Additionally, the WNBA brought back the 3-point shooting contest and skills competition. NBA fans love watching these competitions during NBA All-Star Weekend. So, those events returning could be the common denominator right there.
It has been three years since the 3-point shooting content and skills competition were part of WNBA All-Star Weekend. Another notable factor could be rule changes. The WNBA added three unique rules for the 2022 All-Star Game.
20-second shot clock
No free throws (points are automatic)
Furthermore, how about the players? Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird received her 13th WNBA All-Star selection. Needless to say, Bird leads all other players in All-Star selections. The 20-year veteran was selected first overall by the Storm in the 2002 WNBA Draft. She is a four-time WNBA champion as well. Talent can easily attract viewership and increase merchandise sales.
Just look at LeBron James and James Harden in the NBA. In addition to Bird, the top-selling WNBA jerseys at the start of last season belong to Mercury’s Diana Taurasi, Aces’ A’ja Wilson and the Storm’s Breanna Stewart. Besides jersey sales, with a total of seven selections, Sky forward Candace Parker has the most All-Star selections among Eastern Conference All-Stars.
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