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American Basketball League - Failure Museum

Lasting from 1996-1998, The American Basketball League (ABL) was a professional women’s basketballleague in the United States. At the same time the ABL was being formed, the NBA was creating the WNBA. 

The ABL got off the ground before the WNBA, and at least early on its quality of play was higher than the rival league. This was partly due to the league’s signing of a majority of players from the 1996 USA women’s national team. Although the WNBA was bankrolled by the NBA, the ABL offered higher salaries. The two leagues did not compete directly; the ABL played during the winter while the WNBA played during the summer. However, this arrangement put the ABL in competition with the established men’s NBA for an audience. Ultimately, the ABL found the WNBA’s stronger financial resources—augmented by the NBA’s marketing machine—to be too much to overcome.

Sean Jacobsohn

Sean Jacobsohn

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