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Oct. 13, 2021 — Athletes Limitless makes a curious selection

When Athletes Limitless started sponsoring their coachless fashions of girls’s sports activities leagues in softball, volleyball, and lacrosse, they stepped into conditions of failing professional leagues.

In softball, the COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on 2020 and 2021 leagues, plus there was all the state of affairs when the Scrap Yard membership aspect walked out on their possession throughout a collection of exhibition video games in opposition to the USSSA Satisfaction.

In volleyball, Athletes Limitless stepped into the void left when the US Skilled Volleyball League folded in 2001. And in lacrosse, AU got here in after two ladies’s leagues — the WPLL and UWLX — began up within the late 2010s.

So, I discover it fascinating that Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros have made their subsequent foray right into a ladies’s sports activities league with a sport which has a quarter-century {of professional} historical past in America.

That sport is basketball.

Yep, Athletes Limitless is trying to get a foothold in a sports activities market the place the NBA and WNBA are the undisputed kings and queens of the hill. AU is planning a five-week schedule with 4 11-woman groups. In a press release launched by the league yesterday, former WNBA guard Natasha Cloud stated that one among her causes for enjoying within the league is the truth that many professionals who play within the WNBA need to play in a panoply of international leagues throughout the league’s offseason as a way to get by.

“I’ve performed abroad, it’s not what I need to do,” Cloud stated. “I don’t need to spend seven months away from my household. To have a aggressive league and keep in form … is new wave. I’m excited to be one of many pioneers for the basketball aspect of it.”

The league will happen Jan. 29 to Feb. 28 of subsequent yr in a metropolis but to be decided. And I believe the situation of that metropolis could also be a determinant as to the course that AU will go when it comes to empowering feminine athletes. Given the truth that the league window is true in the course of the NCAA and NBA seasons, I believe it’s going to be very troublesome for this league to get any consideration except it turns into a real taking place within the metropolis through which is positioned.

And the factor is, many locations within the U.S. are fairly properly saturated with dwell basketball throughout the winter months. Even high markets for the ladies’s sport, corresponding to japanese Tennessee and southern New England, are going to have rivals for consideration.

It’s a threat, however I’ve a sense that is one which the league companions imagine is price taking.

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