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Leslie, Byington To Host WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game August 12

Lisa Leslie (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Today, Amazon and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announced that Lisa Leslie and Lisa Byington will call the inaugural WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game between the Connecticut Sun and the Seattle Storm, which will air exclusively on Prime Video on Thursday, August 12, at 9 p.m. ET. The game will stream live from the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and is available to Prime members globally at no additional cost.

The WNBA Commissioner’s Cup has added a new level of importance to regular season games—and a significant prize pool for teams—through the selection of 60, intra-conference “Cup games” that were played in the first half of the WNBA season. The Sun and Storm came out on top this year in the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively. Players on the winning team will each earn $30,000, while those on the runner-up team will each receive $10,000. The MVP of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup title game will take home an extra $5,000. The in-season “competition within a competition” is part of the league’s focus on innovation and fan engagement during the WNBA’s historic 25th season. The new competition was first announced in January 2020, and the blueprint—including new partnerships—were announced in May 2021.

“The Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game is the culmination of the WNBA’s new wildly successful mid-season tournament, and it marks a pivotal moment of the WNBA season—the end of the Olympic break and the starting point for the second half of the 2021 season,” said Marie Donoghue, vice president of Global Sports Video at Amazon. “We’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response to the WNBA on Prime Video this season, and we look forward to streaming the championship game globally on August 12.”

Leslie, who will serve as lead analyst for the game, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015 after a storied career that included four Olympic gold medals, two WNBA championships, three WNBA MVP honors, and selection to eight WNBA All-Star Games. Leslie was the first player to dunk in a WNBA game and still today ranks second in total blocks (822), third in blocks per game (2.26), fourth in total rebounds (3,307), fourth in rebounds per game (9.1), and ninth in total points (6,263) in WNBA history.

Byington will serve as the play-by-play lead for the Commissioner’s Cup title game. She covers the WNBA regularly as the play-by-play voice of the Chicago Sky and is also calling Tokyo Olympics soccer for NBC. In March, Byington became the first female play-by-play announcer to work the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament for CBS and Turner Sports. She was part of the first all-female broadcast team to call an MLS match in 2018. In 2017, Byington was the first female to be the play-by-play announcer for a college football game that was televised by the Big Ten Network.

Following the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game on August 12, there are seven more games airing on Prime Video during the second half of the WNBA season:  

●       Tuesday, August 17 – Minnesota Lynx @ Connecticut Sun, 7 p.m. ET

●       Friday, August 20 – Seattle Storm @ New York Liberty, 7 p.m. ET

●       Thursday, August 26 – Dallas Wings @ Washington Mystics, 7 p.m. ET

●       Tuesday, August 31 – New York Liberty @ Minnesota Lynx, 8 p.m. ET

●       Thursday, September 2 – New York Liberty @ Seattle Storm, 10 p.m. ET

●       Tuesday, September 7 – Connecticut Sun @ Dallas Wings, 8 p.m. ET

●       Thursday, September 16 – Los Angeles Sparks @ Atlanta Dream, 7 p.m. ET

The WNBA Commissioner’s Cup on Prime Video will be available across hundreds of compatible devices worldwide as part of a Prime membership (excluding China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Finland, and Germany). Remaining WNBA games on Prime Video are also available in the participating teams’ markets through the teams’ local distribution partners.

About Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and as a freelance professional. His PR clients have included Wizard World and FAN EXPO, which produce pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America, USA Wrestling, the National Lacrosse League, Strat-O-Matic Media, the Pacific Life Open and Pilot Pen Tennis tournaments and dozens of others. Milani is also the director of athletic communications for Caldwell University. He is a proud graduate of North Rockland High School and Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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