The Washington Mystics announced a new sponsor and unveiled new uniforms at a lavish event inside a large white tent in the parking lot of Inova Loudoun Hospital on Thursday morning.
Before a crowd that included Ted Leonsis, chairman of Monumental Sports and Entertainment; Mark Stauder, president and COO of Inova Health System; Mystics General Manger and Coach Trudi Lacey; Mystics players Chasity Melvin and Monique Currie; several Loudoun County officials; a WNBA representative; and a surprising number of current and former Washington Redskins — Darrell Green, Kedric Golston, Ken Harvey and Lorenzo Alexander — Mystics Chief Operating Officer Greg Bibb introduced Mystics players Crystal Langhorne and Alana Beard modeling the Mystics’ new home and away uniforms.
“This is the proudest moment in my ownership,” said Sheila Johnson, Mystics president and managing partner. “This says so much that we finally have someone who believes in women and athletics.”
The latest Mystics’ uniforms, now in a fourth incarnation entering the franchise’s 14th season, feature a red, navy, silver and white color scheme with the Inova Health System logo emblazoned on it.
“I think it looks great,” Langhorne said of the new uniform. “I like the colors. They’re great colors.”
Melvin was equally enthusiastic.
“I love having a sponsor,” she said. “Players from all the teams have been talking about that. It looks cool. Now we’re hip. We’re cool. Now we have fresh, new vibrant colors. I thought the colors were a little dull, but these are more inviting. You can’t miss us.”
Inova Health System, a Northern Virginia-based not-for-profit healthcare provider that serves more than 1 million people in the metropolitan Washington area, becomes the fifth company to sponsor a WNBA uniform, joining Phoenix (Lifelock), New York (Foxwood Casino), Los Angeles (Farmers Insurance) and Seattle (Bing).
“We had to find the right fit,” Johnson said. “You can get any kind of sponsorship, but we wanted to make sure it was the right fit in the sense that I just don’t want dollars put in there. I want to be able to give back.”
After raising concerns about the financial viability of the franchise in the fall, Johnson said, “This helps the bottom line like you wouldn’t believe. I think I’ve made my partners [in Monumental Sports and Entertainment] very happy.”