The city of Seattle, the Seattle Storm, and KeyArena will play host to the 2017 WNBA All Star Game, the league announced Wednesday.
It will be the first such extracurricular exhibition game in the Emerald City since the 2001 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Safeco Field, the Seattle Times points out. It'll also be the first all-star game for the league since 2015; the 2016 Summer Olympics pre-empted this year's game.
Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel and coach Jenny Boucek see this as a great win for both the team and the city.
Speaking to the Times, Brummel offered...
“We are proud to share another great women’s basketball showcase event with the city and with our fans. The WNBA All-Star Game features the top women’s basketball players in the world, and we are thrilled that Seattle will have a front-row seat.”
Also speaking to the paper, Boucek stated this...
“[...] speaks to our community in just the consistent support of women’s basketball and sports in general. It’s more rare how consistent our fan base is supporting women’s basketball and professional women’s basketball in particular. And that’s been a challenge across our nation, but it’s very consistent here. And they’ve been very loyal to us through our different phases that we’ve been in.”
The Storm are anticipated to have a notable presence in next year’s game. Nine-time all-star Sue Bird, forward Ramu Tokashiki, and the league’s last two Rookies of the Year, Breanna Stewart (2015) and Jewell Loyd (2016), are expected to be selected to play.
In a statement released by the WNBA, Seattle mayor Ed Murray spoke of the city's basketball heritage and the pride in being selected to host the event.
“We are honored to host the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game, which will bring the best basketball players in the world to the Emerald City. Seattle is a basketball town, home to the two-time WNBA champion Seattle Storm and last year’s University of Washington women’s Final Four team. We are proud of this tradition and we will look forward to celebrating the WNBA in Seattle next summer.”
The game will be played on July 22nd and nationally televised on ABC.