Written by Maria Hyde
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023
Women's basketball continues to grow in popularity, breaking stereotypes and records along the way. And it's about to take another leap forward, with the first-ever Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) game being held in Canada on May 13.
“This is such an exciting time for Canadian basketball and women's sport, to see this WNBA game played on my home soil," says Kia Nurse, the Hamilton, Ontario-raised WNBA all-star and Tangerine Champion spokesperson.
Levelling the playing field
As a Foundational Partner of the WNBA, Tangerine is sponsoring the highly anticipated matchup between the Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx. It's the first time in WNBA history that a game will be played in Canada. What's also significant is that this major milestone for women's basketball takes place just before Mother's Day, at Scotiabank Arena, home of the Toronto Raptors.
Having the women's teams play in the same arena as the Raptors sends a strong message about equality: That women basketball players have a place on the same court as the men — and can draw just as big of a crowd. Tickets to the game have already sold out, and all the hype and excitement is an encouraging sign for the future of women's sports.
While Tangerine continues to strengthen an ongoing investment in the basketball community within Canada, this particular sponsorship with the WNBA highlights the commitment to women's sport and female leadership. Support of the WNBA demonstrates Tangerine's dedication to uplifting and empowering female athletes and giving them an equal platform to succeed.
“As proud supporters of the NBA, Toronto Raptors and youth organizations dedicated to empowering young players on and off the court, we are thrilled to take this natural step and expand our commitment to basketball in Canada," said Gillian Riley, President & CEO, Tangerine Bank. “We hope this collaboration will help shine a light on these exceptional female athletes and create an environment for women in sport to succeed."
The game will also be pivotal in inspiring a new generation of athletes.
“I didn't have this level of visibility of the game when I was a kid. For all of the young girls who will be watching in the arena and at home, this will create such inspiration to pursue the game of basketball as a career and to become fans of the WNBA," Kia Nurse says.
In addition to Tangerine's sponsorship of the WNBA, the bank has partnered with basketball superstar Nurse since 2021. The goal of the partnership is to empower communities through youth in sport with initiatives focused on leadership, engagement and mentorship.
Teaming up with Nurse and having her as a Tangerine Champion was an important step for the bank. The goal is to help young Canadians develop valuable skills on-and-off the court while raising awareness around diversity and inclusion to inspire change.
Supporting Lady Ballers Camp
With deep ties to the basketball community, Tangerine understands it's not just about a game played on the court. Access to sports programs can help foster leadership, confidence, and team-building skills.
That's why the bank is committed to supporting grassroots organizations that are removing barriers and making a difference in their communities, like Lady Ballers Camp.
As a not-for-profit charitable organization, Lady Ballers Camp develops girl-centred programs that encourage non-competitive physical, emotional and educational development. Their mandate is to create equitable access to recreational and sporting programs for all children, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
In April, Tangerine committed the $125,000 proceeds from its Bank Shot Account campaign to three organizations devoted to Canadian youth basketball. In addition to support for Lay-Up and the Moncton Basketball Association, Lady Ballers was awarded an incremental $25,000 above its existing funding, to help it develop a six-week basketball summer camp experience for youth in underserved communities across the Greater Toronto Area.