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Vegas Tourism Authority sponsors each Aces player for $100,000 in 2024 and 2025; The WNBA is investigating.

LAS VEGAS– The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is offering an annual sponsorship of $100,000 to each Aces player for this season and 2025.

The WNBA is investigating whether sponsorships are allowed.

This isn’t the Aces’ first run-in with the league in recent years. Last year, the WNBA suspended Aces coach Becky Hammon for two games and stripped the Aces’ 2025 first-round draft pick because the franchise violated league rules regarding unauthorized player benefits. and workplace policies.

The sponsorship does not violate the WNBA salary cap because Las Vegas officials did not orchestrate it 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.

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

“The Aces have had a historic run – two-time world champions,” Hill said on the video before briefing the players. “We are also here to do something historic with them.”

The players were delighted with this decision.

“I’ve always said the city of Vegas is a great little city 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’re walking the talk. We’ve done so much for the city and we’ve had fun doing it.

“It was a big moment for me and my teammates, of someone putting up funds, saying they support us and want to support us.”

According to the Spotrac site, which tracks player salaries, the sponsorship is greater than the income of six Ace players.

“Definitely more than my salary,” said freshman Kate Martin, who makes $67,249, according to the website. “I’m super grateful. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, but that’s real life and that’s what all these players deserve. I wouldn’t have received this crazy bonus if all of these players hadn’t played over the past few years.

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

“(For) the LVCVA to see our value and help close that wage 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 to be able to stand up for the city and give back to this city and be involved in the community, and that’s what they did for us. It was really very special.

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AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg and AP Freelance Writer WG Ramirez contributed to this report.

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

ABC News

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