In 23 years we have seen the WNBA jerseys truly evolve. "WNBA jerseys have evolved a lot of the years as quality and comfort of the jerseys continue to get better," said Michael Fischer, assistant GM of the LA Sparks.
From the mystery Champion design, the untuck era to Nike's newest release prior to the 2019 season, let's look back at the styles, colors, fabric and cuts of the WNBA.
Early Years: 1997-2002
Early on, the jerseys did not have a clear designer logo on them, as Champion logos were typically on the bottom of the jersey tucked in. Reebok entered the picture in 1998.
Jerseys were baggy, everything was shiny and typically worn tucked in. You saw the WNBA logo featured on both the jersey and the shorts along with the team name across the chest.
Untuck Era: 2003-2006
By this time, some of the shine has faded away. We started to see fabric that was lighter and a little more breathable and bearable for players.
The biggest change was how these jerseys were worn. They were no longer designed to be tucked in, if you did, well, it wouldn't stay. They weren't as baggy and featured a more slim fitting Reebok design. Teams still wore white at home and darker jerseys on the road.
Adidas Era Begins: 2007
With the start of a 10-year agreement between the two, Adidas took over as the official outfitter for the WNBA. Jerseys were tucked back in, continued to get slimmer and featured a more dry-fit material that was more absorbent than previous uniforms.
We also started to see the beginning of the racerback cut to better fit the body of the players.
Logo Era: 2009- Present
The Phoenix Mercury added sponsor Lifelock to the uniform. A risky but a rewarding financial move making them first team in professional American sports to do so. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Sparks followed suit replacing 'Sparks' with Farmers Insurance on the front of the jersey. Both teams held multi-year sponsorship deals and by 2013, half of the league had major jersey sponsors. Now, every team has some form of sponsor on its jersey.
In 2016, the league became one of the first American pro leagues to eliminate the traditional home white jersey.
Below are the different sponsors the teams have had deals with over the years. (Oldest to current.)
Atlanta Dream: Boost,Verizon
Chicago Sky: Boost, Verizon, University of Chicago Medicine
Connecticut Sun: Boost, Frontier, Mohegan Sun Casino
Dallas Wings: Verizon, American Fidelity, Texas Capital Bank (Tulsa Shock: Boost, Osage Casino)
Los Angeles Sparks: Farmers Insurance, Boost, Verizon, EquiTrust
Las Vegas Aces: MGM Resort logo on the left shoulder. (San Antonio Stars: H-E-B)
Minnesota Lynx: Boost, Verizon, Mayo Clinic
New York Liberty: Boost, Foxwoods Casino, Verizon, Draft Kings, Hospital for Special Surgery
Phoenix Mercury: Lifelock, Boost, Verizon,Talking Stick Resort and Casino
Seattle Storm: Bing, Boost, Verizon, Swedish Medical Center
Washington Mystics: Inova Health Systems, Verizon, Geico
League Wide Sponsorships:
Boost Mobile: Began in 2011 and was featured on ten of the twelve teams.
Verizon: Began in the spring of 2016-2018
AT&T: Began in 2019
NIKE Era: 2018
Nike recently took over as the official outfitter for the WNBA. The Washington Mystics, Atlanta Dream and Las Vegas Aces are the only teams remaining with the team name in its original place. However, a Verizon logo is placed under their numbers on the Mystics and Dreams. The Aces uniform will only feature an MGM Logo on the left shoulder, similar to the NBA design.
The Return of the Logo: 2019
The WNBA and Nike unveiled the jerseys for the 2019 season. The jerseys are the same Aeroswift design for the second consecutive year. The biggest change is the return of the team logo front and center to each jersey, which had not been the case since 2009. Corporate logos still remain prevalent with a number only located on the back.
These 2019 designs will make their debut for the start of preseason on May 9. Fans can purchase jerseys on WNBAStore.com on May 24 for the start of the first regular season contests.
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