Special to NYSportsJournalism
June 5, 2012: The WNBA said it would join with its teams, players and marketing partners this season to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 that required gender equity for males and females in any program that received federal funding, including athletics and academics.
Among other events, the league said it would unveil special uniforms designed by adidas to be worn by four WNBA teams during two nationally televised games June 23 on ESPN: the Chicago Sky at Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks at Phoenix Mercury.
All uniforms for these games will feature “IX” in the front of the jerseys. Teams with jersey sponsors will maintain that branding, such as the Lynx and Sky with Boost Mobile. the Mercury and Lifelock and the Sparks and Farmers Insurance.
In addition, commemorative adidas WNBA Title IX shirts will be available for purchase at WNBAStore.com.
As part of the season-long festivities, all WNBA teams will host in-arena events featuring programming, discussion panels and halftime presentations to honor the anniversary.
“As the most successful women’s sports league in the world, we truly believe the WNBA is a proof point of the impact of Title IX,” WNBA president Laurel Richie said in a statement. “The women of the WNBA – and all of the men who enjoy the game or have daughters and sisters who dream of becoming professional athletes – are beneficiaries of this legislation. We are proud to recognize this important anniversary.”
The league said that WNBA.com would feature a Title IX section, which will include daily content and editorial pieces on politicians, executives, coaches and athletes who initiated or benefited from this law.
Individual franchises will work with league and their own team marketing partners to honor the anniversary.
• The Atlanta Dream will host a special “Women in Sports Night” at its Aug. 22 game. Several other franchises are also holding similar events. (See team Web sites for details.)
• The Chicago Sky will select nine women who have inspired change across Illinois to be part of a Title IX team. Each member will be honored at Sky home games and during a pre-game reception and on-court recognition.
• The Connecticut Sun will host a Title IX event and will feature special programming throughout the game, including video testimonials from Sun players and coaches and free giveaway items to fans attending the game.
• The Los Angeles Sparks will host a pre-game reception in honor of the Inspiring Women of the Title IX movement on June 24.
• The Phoenix Mercury are asking fans to submit stories of how Title IX benefited them, a friend or a family member. All who submit a story will receive a free ticket and an invitation to take part in an on-court celebration at the June 23 game.
• The Storm will celebrate Title IX and the role that sports play in the lives of girls and women with a season-long platform, including first-person stories from players, owners, and fans about the impact sports and Title IX. These accounts will be featured on the team Web site, in games and via broadcast.