As Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark visit DC, Mystics unveil the jersey sponsor

The Washington Mystics will debut Robinhood as their new jersey sponsor when they host Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky on Thursday at Capital One Arena. The financial services platform’s logo will appear on the front of Mystics jerseys for the remainder of the season, below each player’s team name and number.

The Mystics, who set a franchise record with their ninth straight loss on Tuesday, have been without a primary sponsor on the front of their jerseys since Monumental Sports and Entertainment’s deal with Geico expired after the 2021 season. The team signed a two-year sponsorship deal with CarMax last season and all WNBA teams will have the AT&T logo on the back of their jerseys as part of a league-wide partnership announced in 2019.

The WNBA saw a 31 percent increase in sponsorships and media deals last season and is setting records for attendance and TV viewership in early 2024. In April, the Phoenix Mercury signed a jersey patch sponsorship deal with venture capital firm Cleveland Avenue worth a reported $3 million per year. A month earlier, the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal with Ally Financial Inc.

Terms of the Mystics’ deal with Robinhood, which also includes signage at the team’s Entertainment and Sports Arena and a series of social media content, were not disclosed.

“The increasing interest in the W is not only on the fan side, but also on the business side,” Mystics Chief Business Officer Alycen McAuley said in a video interview. “There’s a lot of incoming interest in what’s happening in the WNBA. We are always talking to a wide variety of companies about joining the Mystics.”

McAuley liked that Robinhood is a national brand with local roots, as its two co-founders, Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, both grew up in Virginia. The company, which became popular for its intuitive stock and cryptocurrency features and faced criticism during and after the meme stock frenzy of 2021, also had an existing relationship with Monumental Sports & Entertainment. In October, it signed a three-year deal to be the official brokerage and jersey patch sponsor of the Washington Wizards.

“We are excited to bring Robinhood’s mission to women’s sports through our first-ever WNBA partnership with the Washington Mystics,” Tenev said in a statement. “As a DC area basketball fan, it is an honor to connect with more DC area fans as we build on the success of our partnership with Monumental.”

The Mystics’ showdown with the Sky on Thursday is the first of two games on consecutive nights as the team moved from its 4,200-seat home arena in DC’s Ward 8 to the 20,000-seat Capital One Arena to accommodate demand for Reese and fellow rookie Caitlin Clark, whose Indiana Fever visits the district on Friday.

The Atlanta Dream and Aces also moved regular-season games against the Fever to larger venues to take advantage of interest in Clark, the No. 1 pick in this year’s WNBA draft. The Fever, who are off to a 2-9 start, are averaging a league-high 15,315 fans through six road games. The Mystics are the first team to reschedule a game against the Sky, who selected Reese, a Baltimore native and former LSU star, with the seventh pick.

The Mystics are only selling tickets in the 100 and 200 levels at Capital One Arena for Thursday’s game against the Sky, but the available inventory is still more than double the capacity of Entertainment and Sports Arena, which the team has since calls 2019 home. The Mystics will host the Mercury on July 16 at Capital One Arena for their annual day of camp.

“I think it makes a lot of sense given where we are right now, the rivalry we have with Chicago and Angel Reese’s profile here in this market,” McAuley said of the decision to move Thursday’s game to Chinatown. “Ticket sales for that game were very strong.”

Despite the Mystics’ historically poor start, Washington has sold out all three home games at the Entertainment and Sports Arena this season. That, according to McAuley, is a tribute to the “extraordinary level of dedication” of the team’s fan base, including the season ticket holders who have supported the Mystics throughout their 27 years of existence.

In an effort to attract new fans, the team announced a “Brunch and Basketball” series last month. The promotion includes a pregame meal, including bottomless mimosas, at Sycamore & Oak, adjacent to the arena, and a ticket to the game. The team is considering expanding the promotion to additional dates after the first batch of games sold out.

“It’s a great example of the enthusiasm that’s out there and the support that we’re seeing,” McAuley said.

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