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Liberty could join Mercury with sponsor logo on jerseys

The Liberty soon might follow in the footsteps of the Phoenix Mercury, which has announced plans to emblazon the front of its players' jerseys with the name of a corporate sponsor in an unprecedented multi-million-dollar deal.

The Mercury, which unveiled its three-year partnership with LifeLock, an identity theft protection company, at the NBA Store in Manhattan Monday, will feature the first-ever branded jersey in WNBA and NBA history. Under the three-year deal, the name LifeLock will replace the "Phoenix" and "Mercury" across the road and home uniforms, respectively. The team's logo will appear above the "LifeLock" on the left side.

The Mercury is the first team to complete an agreement under the league's initiative aimed at increasing revenue and marketing opportunities. WNBA president Donna Orender expects more teams to reach similar deals. "There are very positive discussions going on in the marketplace right now,'' she said, "and I would estimate there could be another one this season."

Carol Blazejowski - president of the Liberty, which is owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday - didn't offer specifics on corporate sponsorships currently in the works but said it's an avenue the Liberty is pursuing. "We're pitching it here. Absolutely," she said. "I think it's the way of the future and we're really proud to have companies that want to associate with us."

Phoenix coach Corey Gaines pointed to corporate names on stadiums. "I remember everybody was all mad about it,'' he said. "They forgot about that faster than you could sneeze."

Said the Mercury's Diana Taurasi, "For LifeLock to step up and recognize the WNBA is something they can invest in and be very positive and productive in women's sports is huge." - With AP

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