A lengthy labor deal and television contract has the league president smiling.

NEW YORK — WNBA President Laurel Richie was all smiles after the annual Board of Governors meetings this week.

It’s hard to blame her.

The league has labor stability after a six-year collective bargaining agreement was ratified in March. The WNBA also is in the midst of a long-term deal with ESPN.

“There was a lot of talk about momentum, and what’s the next phase, how do we accelerate our growth?” Richie said. “The 2016 season will be our 20th season, and how do we want to mark and acknowledge that? There was great energy.”

Washington Mystics general manager and coach Mike Thibault echoed Richie’s sentiments.


“We’re not in any way shape or form living day to day,” he said. “We have stability.”

With stability comes talk of expansion. Richie reiterated that the league is always thinking about expanding.

“That’s a recurring theme and topic. We don’t have a date in mind – stay tuned,” she said. “That’s because we have 12 teams right now that have been with us for the last five years. It’s a sign of stability and breeds the question of what’s next when you have that kind of foundation.”

Five teams are profitable, according to the WNBA president, and others are very close to breaking even.

“I think we’ve seen great progress and those who are not yet profitable we see that gap getting smaller,” she said.

Six teams were in the black in 2013. One team that hasn’t been profitable either year was the Los Angeles Sparks. But Richie said the new ownership group, led by Magic Johnson, will turn things around.


“They got a late jump last year and I know they are already making a big difference,” she said.

On the marketing end, Richie was happy to see the league’s schedule was released Thursday – the earliest it’s been out.

Games will start June 5 – three weeks later than last season.

“The benefits of a later start to the schedule are that we increase the number of games when kids aren’t in school and that’s a good thing for us,” Richie said. “We look forward to maximizing it.”

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