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Las Vegas Aces make WNBA history as first team to sell out season tickets

A'ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces celebrates after defeating the Connecticut Sun to win the 2022 WNBA Finals.
Maddie Meyer
Getty Images
A'ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces celebrates after defeating the Connecticut Sun to win the 2022 WNBA Finals.

If you go to the website for the Las Vegas Aces, you'll see incredible videos of professional women's basketball stars scoring, storming through the stadium and striking epic poses. What you won't see is available season tickets.

"The back-to-back WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces announced today that the team is sold out of season ticket memberships for the 2024 season, making them the first team in WNBA history to sell out its season ticket allotment," the website says.

The Aces are currently the winning-est team in pro women's basketball. Last season, the team won its second consecutive WNBA title. If it succeeds in snagging a third, the Aces will start edging in on the Houston Comets, which handily won the competition four years in a row between 1997 and 2000.

Back then, professional women's basketball was struggling. Since the WNBA launched in 1997, its teams have fought for traction with fans and sponsors inclined to dismiss women's sports.

But women's basketball has enjoyed a remarkable recent upswing. Last season, average attendance at WNBA games rose 16% compared to the year before. WNBA games drew more than 6,000 fans on average per game. The Aces hold the highest average attendance rate in the league, regularly bringing in nearly 10,000 fans to every game.

"This is such a special milestone for our franchise, as it really represents the culmination of several years of hard work by our players, our coaches, and our front office as we've tried to build a championship culture on and off the court and foster impactful relationships in the community," said Aces President Nikki Fargas in a statement sent to NPR. "Las Vegas has truly shown up and shown out for this franchise, creating a bond between the city and our team that is unrivaled in the WNBA."

With the rise of a new generation of stars, including college standout Caitlin Clark (who herself plans to enter the WNBA Draft), women's basketball is on a roll. The Big Ten women's basketball tournament sold out for the first time earlier this year. The WNBA now receives an estimated $860 million in sponsorship. And there's talk of a new franchise in the works, that would give the league 14 teams in 2024.

As for the Las Vegas Aces, the team is scheduled to play its first game of the season on May 14 against the Phoenix Mercury, pitting stars such as A'ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young against Brittney Griner, one of the few true celebrities of women's basketball. Good luck scoring single tickets.

Edited for the web by Rose Friedman

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Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.