Breanna Stewart joked in regards to the restricted impression of the WNBA's new constitution flight plan, then known as for 'a bit bit extra' from the league

  • WNBA gamers have been pushing the league to supply constitution flights for journey between video games.
  • The league expanded its non-public flight choices for the 2023 season, however gamers nonetheless need extra.
  • Liberty star Breanna Stewart advised Insider her combat for higher journey is about “setting the usual.”

Breanna Stewart is pushing the WNBA for “a bit bit extra” on its most contentious concern: constitution flights, or the shortage thereof.

The league’s 12 groups have lengthy traveled from recreation to recreation on industrial flights, a actuality that is resulted in nightmarish journeys and limitless hours crammed into coach for the world’s greatest basketball gamers every season. However the WNBA’s journey insurance policies took on added scrutiny within the wake of Brittney Griner’s return from Russian detention and Stewart’s blockbuster free company — through which she made non-public flights a significant component in her determination to hitch the New York Liberty. 

Breanna Stewart arrives at the Barclays Center after signing with the New York Liberty.

Stewart arrives on the Barclays Middle after signing with the New York Liberty.

New York Liberty

Dealing with mounting stress on the subject, the league introduced a revamped journey program in April. The WNBA resolved to finance constitution flights for any group taking part in video games on consecutive days, all playoff contests, and the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup championship recreation.

On its floor, the brand new coverage seems to be a whole overhaul. However in actuality, the league will solely be chartering a handful of flights through the common season; lower than half the league’s groups will fly non-public between the season’s tip and the beginning of the postseason in mid-September.

“Nicely, I will take the one constitution,” Stewart advised Insider when requested in regards to the “little little bit of a change” to the coverage throughout a press convention in New York, drawing chuckles from celebrity teammates Sabrina Ionescu and Jonquel Jones seated on both facet of her.

“Yeah, a bit little bit of a change,” Ionescu added with a smirk.

Sabrina Ionescu

New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu.

AP Photograph/Adam Starvation

Stewart and the Liberty would be the recipients of 1 constitution flight — an August 17 journey from Las Vegas to Phoenix — in the whole five-month span of the common season. Ideally, the two-time WNBA champion and 2018 MVP mentioned, the league would work with the gamers and house owners to make its constitution flights program “a factor that regularly grows.” 

“The entire thing behind it’s, we need to get to some extent within the WNBA the place our first response to a query shouldn’t be a no,” Stewart mentioned. “It is a sure, perhaps. Or sure, and.”

As lately as final summer season, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert mentioned the estimated $20 million-plus price ticket of constitution flights might “jeopardize the monetary well being of the league.” The league has additionally publicly clashed with its most formidable franchise house owners — particularly the Liberty’s Joe Tsai, who was slapped with a $500,000 superb final yr — over unauthorized use of charters through the season.

Engelbert has pressured the significance of “long-term progress” of the league to “fund issues like this,” as she mentioned forward of the 2023 WNBA Draft in April.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

AP Photograph/Patrick Semansky

“That is one thing we have been engaged on since, I need to say since I’ve come to the league, however actually arduous within the final yr,” Engelbert mentioned.

“The transformation of the league is going on, and it is working,” she added. “I do know lots of people need instantaneous enchancment and alter. I would like that, too, however as I do know rising a enterprise does take persistence and time, and the transformation is going on.”

However for Stewart and her colleagues taking part in night time in and night time out — to not point out all year long competing for groups abroad — the necessity for improved journey lodging is imminent. The gamers and their allies within the combat for constitution flights argue that non-public planes assist guarantee “our our bodies are rested and recovered,” which in the end results in a stronger in-game product.

Breanna Stewart.

Stewart brings up the ball through the 2022 WNBA All-Star Recreation.

Stacy Revere/Getty Pictures

“We need to be nice on the court docket and typically these locations we’re going do not all have direct flights, or we do not all have nice seats,” Stewart mentioned. “So it is part of elevating the needle, setting the usual.”

“Hopefully we’ll have a bit bit greater than what we have now now for subsequent yr,” she added.

Take a look at her full response under: