Finally, an exciting era is about to start for the WNBA as the visionary Joe Tsai has purchased the New Liberty and is moving them across the bridge to Brooklyn.
The New York Liberty will be playing their 2020 WNBA season at the Barclays Centre. For the first time, it will be under new leadership from the one and only Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group and owner of the Brooklyn Nets Joe Tsai.
The team was acquired in January 2019 and immediately following the closing of the transaction, David Levy was named CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, and President of J Tsai Sports.
“We are committed to the Liberty’s long-term success in New York and relocating the team to Brooklyn will provide the franchise with tremendous opportunity,” said Levy.
“With many of our fans based in the five boroughs, moving to Barclays Center will make the Liberty more centrally located, allowing us to bring back the original fan base and attract new supporters. The venue change, along with the first pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, has positioned the team for an exciting future.”
“The New York Liberty are part of the foundation of the W and have many of the most accomplished players and passionate fans since the inaugural season,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
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“Barclays Center is the perfect venue to host New York’s team and showcase world-class women’s basketball. This move is key to driving the league to the next level.”
True words from Cathy. In the era of growing women’s sports and getting more women and girls to engage with sports – this is an excellent move by Joe Tsai and the whole organisation. The move to Barclays Center will expand the capacity to more than 8,000, with opportunity for growth. But with the investment to develop and promote women’s sports in New York, this is a great opportunity for the Net’s to show and teach other franchises how you can successfully grow men’s and women’s teams, using the same brand.
With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant part of the Net’s, it will only serve as a very competitive and exciting season ahead for the team where the women and men will bounce off each others energy to grow their fan base, engage participation and show the world how both can succeed side by side while promoting equality in sports.
This is the fourth home venue in the Liberty’s illustrious history as one of the eight original franchises in the WNBA. The team played in the first-ever WNBA game in 1997 defeating the Los Angeles Sparks and has claimed some of the league’s biggest names, including Becky Hammon, Kym Hampton, Vickie Johnson, Rebecca Lobo, Teresa Weatherspoon, and Sue Wicks.
As a fan of basketball, I am r=extremely excited to see what Joe Tsai, his wife and the organisation do with the Liberty’s because it’s about time NBA teams sat up and paid attention to what the women’s teams can bring to the table. But also for some of the WNBA players to realise that it is going to take them to stand shoulder to shoulder with the men to get the eyeballs, investments and sponsorship they deserve as women in sports.
Joe Tsai, we are all excited – lead the way.