After three successful seasons of the WNBA’s version of its in-season tournament, the WNBA today announced changes to the format of the league’s Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase, the in-season competition launched in 2021 that designates a portion of regular-season conference games in the first half of the season as “Commissioner’s Cup games.”
Effective with the upcoming 2024 season, the league’s 28th season, the reconfigured structure for the WNBA’s in-season tournament will see each team play a total of five Commissioner’s Cup games, one against each of its in-conference rivals.
All games played during the two-week period from June 1-13 will be Commissioner’s Cup qualifying games. Teams will play either three Commissioner’s Cup games at home and two on the road or two at home and three on the road.
All Commissioner’s Cup games will be a part of the team’s 40-game schedule and will count toward the team’s regular-season win-loss record.
“After crowning three Commissioner’s Cup champions since 2021, we believe it is time to introduce a new, streamlined format for the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase for the 2024 season,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
“The newly designed, concentrated structure for this in-season tournament adds an increased sense of urgency and excitement as we place a particular spotlight on Eastern and Western Conference Commissioner’s Cup play in a two-week window near the tip-off of our regular season. The focus is on making the Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase even more engaging for all our stakeholders, including fans, teams, players, and the community organizations that collaborate with our teams during the designated games.”
The team from each conference with the top record in Commissioner’s Cup games will compete for a $500,000 prize pool in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship presented by Coinbase, which will be played on Tuesday, June 25, at the arena of the team with the best record in Cup play. The Commissioner’s Cup, presented by Coinbase, will continue to feature a platform through which the league makes charitable contributions to non-profit organizations aligned to the players’ social justice work. The accumulating donation dollars will be presented to each organization after the Commissioner’s Cup Championship.
The prior format for the Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase consisted of 10 games per team – 60 in total – designated as Commissioner’s Cup games. Through the first three years of Commissioner’s Cup play, “Cup games” have been the first home game and first road game each team played against its five conference rivals.
The teams from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference with the highest winning percentage in “Cup games” subsequently earned a spot in the Championship Game of the Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase.
The inaugural Commissioner’s Cup was won by the Seattle Storm in 2021 (Breanna Stewart, MVP). The second was won by the Las Vegas Aces in 2022 (Chelsea Gray, MVP).
This past season, the New York Liberty (Jonquel Jones, MVP) took home the Commissioner’s Cup, their first title in franchise history.