WNBA to investigate Las Vegas Aces amid receiving $100,000 sponsorship ahead of 2024 season

WNBA to investigate Las Vegas Aces amid receiving $100,000 sponsorship ahead of 2024 season.
WNBA to investigate Las Vegas Aces amid receiving $100,000 sponsorship ahead of 2024 season.

The WNBA is reportedly investigating back-to-back league champions Las Vegas Aces after their players received $100,000 sponsorship deals from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

While the sponsorships don't go against the WNBA's salary cap rules, as the Las Vegas authority didn't make the deal with the ball club and instead went straight to the players and their respective agents, it still raised some red flags, leading to an investigation.

As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the players agreed to make appearances on Las Vegas' behalf and wear gear promoting the city.

The deal, which was supposed to be announced at the Aces' home game on Saturday against the LA Sparks, was reportedly brokered directly with the players' agents and the LVCVA said that the team did not know about the agreement.

Speaking to the Women's Hoops Network to clarify things, LVCVA president Steve Hill said:

"No we did not speak to the WNBA, did not see any particular reason that we needed to. Obviously, athletes get sponsorship all the time, and it is just a sponsorship deal, so we didn't see the need to talk to the WNBA about that."

He added:

"We wanted to move on quickly, with the thought orginally that we would make the announcement at today's game that was televised..."

Watch the interview below:

Aces star A'ja Wilson expressed surprise over the investigation but eventually shrugged it off as another episode for their team. She said by way of USA Today:

"I don't understand the investigation. I haven't dived into it yet ... 'Oh, wow, just another day in the life of the Aces.' We can't ever start just normal, it's always going to be something, and that's OK."

Last season, the Las Vegas Aces were also investigated by the WNBA, with coach Becky Hammons suspended for two games without pay and the team losing draft picks this season over violation of workplace policies and league rules on player benefits.


Las Vegas Aces defeat LA Sparks amid investigation

While they were being probed by the WNBA over the sponsorship deal, the Las Vegas Aces went about their business and raced to their second straight victory with an 89-82 win over the LA Sparks at home on Saturday.

The home team got off to a slow start but picked things up in the middle quarters to create some distance from the visitors. The Sparks made a spirited run in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Aces, 23-18, but Las Vegas hung tough.

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A'ja Wilson led the charge for the Aces, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Jackie Young had 22 points and dished out 11 assists.

For the Sparks, Dearica Hamby showed the way with 29 points and nine boards. The Las Vegas Aces (2-0) host the Phoenix Mercury next on Tuesday.

Edited by Bhargav
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