New York Liberty & Xbox Partnership

New York Liberty, Xbox

The 5th Annual Awards

Winner trophy-icon-silver
  • Best Women’s Sports Partnership


It’s a well-documented disparity that women’s sports only receive 4% of media coverage and 1% of partnership spend, but too often, inaction remains the status quo.

Ahead of the 2022 WNBA season, Microsoft’s Xbox vowed to be a changemaker by investing equally in the New York Liberty and Brooklyn Nets–producing one of the most innovative and impactful sports partnerships in the history of women’s sports.

The partnership was headlined by a Roblox-inspired secondary basketball court that existed both at Barclays Center and within the Roblox universe; a first-of-its-kind activation on both fronts in women’s sports.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

Our partnership will serve as a benchmark that demonstrates how to impactfully allocate sponsorship spend while engaging multiple demographics.

This project pushed the limits to create a groundbreaking activation within the WNBA, serving as a best practice while also highlighting that large-scale activations are both successful and engaging across women’s sports.

Additionally, integration within Roblox supports setting a new standard of facilitating sports activations in untraditional spaces. Ultimately, this project demonstrated the power behind cultivating an authentic partnership while strategically engaging with a unique Gen-Z fanbase.

This partnership’s engagement rates and global impact will encourage further investment and resources poured into the women’s sports ecosystem—concurrently elevating fan engagement and experience.

Xbox’s investment and collaboration with the Liberty were palpable, as the franchise has since seen a massive year-over-year increase in partnership revenue.

We’re only just beginning to see the impact Xbox’s partnership is creating and are hopeful that this project will lead to a ripple effect across women’s sports globally because as evidenced, all it takes is one disruptor to change the entire industry forever.


Xbox’s global “Power Her Dreams” campaign is the brand’s ongoing commitment to amplify girls and women in both sports and gaming. The objectives of the Xbox-Liberty partnership continued to build upon this campaign.

The first objective was to integrate local youth into the partnership through the launch of “Jnr. Ballers”, a program that strategically selected three girls and three boys from the local community. The program provided inspirational opportunities centered around each participant’s career aspirations with the goal of continuing to power their dreams.

The second objective was quite literally to help “even the playing field” for the Liberty and WNBA at large. While it’s standard for an NBA team to have two or more courts, no team in the WNBA had access to a secondary court. The development of the Xbox-Liberty court was an actionable step towards equality within women’s sports.

The final objective was for the Liberty to engage with a new, Gen-Z audience through Roblox as this demographic traditionally does not attend WNBA games. Through the partnership, our teams discovered a never-before-seen convergence between differing audiences.


Strategy & Execution

Understanding the current sports landscape and the rising decentralization of sports fandom, the partnership was multi-faceted with the modern sports fan in mind by engaging both WNBA fans and Roblox gamers.

It met both audiences where they were, whether watching the Liberty in-person, on broadcast, or playing basketball in Roblox while driving awareness and curiosity toward the other mediums.

The activation’s global reach through Roblox was specifically focused on including girls in gaming, who are far less represented than boys in the industry. Also, it was strategically designed to engage with Gen-Z—which is often a challenging demographic for professional sports teams to target—but saw historic engagement rates.

Ultimately, this partnership led to a significant crossover between two unique audiences which is indicated by the groundbreaking performance metrics.


  • New York Liberty
  • Xbox
  • Roblox

Athletes & Influencers

  • Stefanie Dolson
  • Sabrina Ionescu
  • Marine Johannes
  • Jonquel Jones
  • Betnijah Laney
  • Epiphanny Prince
  • DiDi Richards
  • Breanna stewart
  • Kayla Thornto
  • Courtney Vandersloot
  • Jocelyn Willoughby
  • Han Xu


Johnna Hayward
Head of Strategy & Partnership Marketing
New York Liberty

Keia Clarke
Chief Executive Officer
New York Liberty

Jonathan Kolb
General Manager
New York Liberty

Shana Stephenson
Chief Brand Officer
New York Liberty

Alesia Howard
VP, Communications & Social Responsibility
New York Liberty

Bryan Flannery
PR Coordinator
New York Liberty

Dan West
Senior Manager, Operations
Brooklyn Nets at BSE Global

Jospeh Esile
Senior Director, Operations
Brooklyn Nets at BSE Global

Sal Manzella
Manager, Operations
Brooklyn Nets at BSE Global

Nigel Dobson
Operations Assistant
Brooklyn Nets at BSE Global

Marcos Waltenberg
Director, Global Partnerships & Social Impact

Kumar Manix
Partnership Manager

Chris Munson
Sr. Global Xbox Sports Partnerships Lead

Albert Dankwa
Content Program Manager

Mindy Rowe
Project Manager
Simplicity Consulting

Pepper Persley
Sports Reporter
Dish With Pepper

Dave Smith
Vice President, Operations
Praters Flooring

Michael Charaba
Graphics Specialist
Praters Flooring

Cortney Griggs
Inside Sales Assistant
Praters Flooring

Mark Frainie
Owner & COO
Praters Flooring

John Prater Singh
Praters Flooring

Rohan Bhasin
Senior Director, Arena Operations
Barclays Center

Kathryn Morgan
Manager, Event Services
Barclays Center

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 5th Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 14, 2023 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.