AP sources: IMG Academy, MGM top WNBA list of sites to play

Cathy Engelbert

FILE – In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference in Washington. WNBA rookies will start receiving health benefits beginning Friday, May 1, 2020. “Given the unique nature of this crisis, rookies and other new players currently under contract will receive full health benefits beginning on May 1, while veterans, who already receive year-round health benefits, will not have any break in their coverage,” WNBA Commissioner Engelbert told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Two people familiar with the situation say the WNBA plans to hold games at just one location if there is a season this year and that the MGM Resorts in Las Vegas and the IMG Academy in Florida are the top candidates.

There is still not date when the 2020 season will tip off.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the possible locations haven’t been publicly announced. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told the AP last month that the league was considering a handful of scenarios that included playing at one or two sites.

Details of the logistics of how the league and its 12 teams would operate at either location remain unclear.

Engelbert told the AP once again on Tuesday that the league has talked about a number of options, but declined to confirm whether IMG Academy or MGM topped the list of possible destinations.

“We’re looking at the pros and cons of a number of different locations,” Engelbert said.

The commissioner reiterated once again that health and safety of the players and teams was a top priority.

The league postponed the start of its season in April because of the coronavirus pandemic. The WNBA was supposed to begin play on May 15.

If the league goes with MGM Resorts it would have a few options of where the games could be held, but one would likely be ruled out: Mandalay Bay. That is the home court of the Las Vegas Aces, who are owned by MGM Resports. The league wouldn’t want to give the Aces even more of a competitive advantage.

IMG Academy is in Bradenton, Florida — about 100 miles from Disney World near Orlando where the NBA is negotiating to restart its season in July.

The commissioner did confirm one of many topics of discussion with the union: Players were paid Monday and will receive another check in a couple of weeks.

The players, who earn a base salary between $57,000 and $215,000, are usually paid nine times during an Olympic year, but were paid one 12th of their salary this week. The plan is for players to receive checks over 12 pay periods.

The league and union will evaluate where they are at the end of the month as far as starting the season and whether players will continue to get paid next month.

Normally players would be paid every two weeks starting on June 1 with their last checks coming at the end of the regular season.


Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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