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Las Vegas tourism authority sponsoring each Aces player for $100K in 2024 and 2025


LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is providing a $100,000 annual sponsorship to each Aces player for this season and 2025.

“The city of Vegas I’ve always said, it’s a big small town and they just want the best for the people here,” point guard Chelsea Gray said before the Aces’ home game Saturday against the Los Angeles Sparks. “They’re investing in us and so they put their money where their mouth is. We’ve done so much for the city and having fun doing it.

“It was a great moment for me and my teammates, of somebody actually putting funds behind, saying that they’re supporting and they want to have our back.”

The authority posted a video on X of president and CEO Steve Hill telling the players in the locker room the news on Friday.

“The Aces have been on an historic run — two-time world champions,” Hill said on the video before informing the players. “We’re here to do something historic with them, too.”

And, probably, controversial.

The sponsorship does not violate the WNBA’s salary cap because the authority did not orchestrate the sponsorship with the club. But other teams are likely to raise questions about the fairness of the sponsorship and whether it violates the spirit of the cap rules.

Such a deal likely would give the Aces a tremendous advantage in landing free agents if other teams are unable to match the offering.

According to the website Spotrac, which tracks player salaries, the sponsorship is higher than the earnings of six Aces players.

“Definitely more than my salary,” said rookie Kate Martin, who makes $67,249, according to the website. “I’m super thankful. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, but this is very much real life and that is what all these players deserve. I wouldn’t be getting this crazy bonus if it weren’t for how great all of these players have played in the last few years.”

The $100,000 also is a big addition even to what the top players make. A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum are the highest-paid Aces at $200,000 each and Gray is right behind at $196,267.

“(For) the LVCVA to see our value and to help close that pay gap, it says a lot about the character of the people that are there,” said Alysha Clark, whose salary is listed at $110,000. “So I’m extremely grateful. I’m honored to be able to represent this organization and this city and be able to put on for the city, give back to this city and pour into the community, and that’s what they did for us. It was really, really special.”

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AP freelance writer W.G. Ramirez contributed to this report.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball



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