Greg Bibb and I settled into a couple of lounge chairs at the Highland Park Village Starbucks with his unsweetened iced coffee with a little half-and-half and my peach green tea lemonade in hand—because I don’t drink coffee. Bibb is in his eighth season leading the WNBA’s Dallas Wings and just wrapped up his second with National Lacrosse League expansion team Panther City Lacrosse Club. Both teams are overseen, by and large, by the same ownership group while sharing employees and office space—which recently more than doubled in size.
When Bibb and I met, the Wings were coming off its season opener and logged an 85-75 home victory. The game hosted 5,600 fans, just 500 short of a sellout of College Park Center at The University of Texas at Arlington—nearly 2,000 more fans than what the Wings averaged throughout the 2022 season, according to Statista data. Now, the Wings sit in fourth in the WNBA standings and are trending toward another playoff birth.
“The team has reached a point now where it is no longer a hope to make the playoffs, but an expectation,” Bibb says. “Ultimately, we want to secure a WNBA championship.”
His on-court expectations align with his vision of success for the front office. With 48 employees, the CEO expects revenue to grow by more than 30 percent in the 2023 season; each of the past two years, the Wings turned a profit, despite the WNBA not doing so. “The Wings will set records this year with ticket sales and overall revenue,” Bibb says.
In April 2023, women’s basketball became sports’ headline act. The American Airlines Center hosted the NCAA Women’s Final Four in front of three sellout crowds. During that weekend, the Wings hosted a party at W Dallas with more than 500 guests, including WNBA stars, retired WNBA legends, league and city officials, corporate sponsors, and more.
Building off the momentum, Bibb says the Wings are no longer in startup mode, but rather—as one of the top three revenue producers in the WNBA—an aggressive growth phase. “When we started [the Wings relocated from Tulsa to Dallas in 2015], pick the business metric, we were at the bottom of the barrel,” Bibb says. “Pick the business metric now, and we’re at the top. I liken it to turning the Bad News Bears into the New York Yankees.”
On the way to becoming the Bronx Bombers of women’s basketball, Bibb says that legalized sports betting will be the fuel the team needs to climb higher. He has helped position the Wings and Panther City Lacrosse in legislation proposals alongside other professional teams in Texas. “We went down to Austin in 2021 and we stomped for it,” he says. “But in terms of how it would impact our revenue, the best way to explain it is transformative. We’re making progress toward legalization and I’m hopeful for 2025.”
In early August, the Wings and Dallas Mavericks entered into a seven-figure agreement that linked the two organizations via a jersey patch sponsorship and a philanthropic partnership. The Wings players now wear a Mavericks patch on their uniforms and Wings players, coaches, and officials are now plugging into the Mavs’ GEM (Girls Empowered by Mavericks) programming year-round. Bibb called the partnership, “The largest, widest, deepest relationship between non-shared ownership groups the NBA and WNBA has ever seen.”
For Panther City Lacrosse, Bibb says that operations are still in the startup stage, but “having grown the Wings out of that mode, we can execute the same strategy with Panther City,” Bibb says.
During the Wings’ 2023 season, in line with revenue, Bibb expects the team to close the season seeing more than a 30 percent spike in ticket sales—meaning demand is approaching College Park’s supply of 6,100 seats. So, as he sips his iced coffee, I ask about the team’s plans once demand outweighs supply. “My focus right now is on what’s down the road for us—I will leave it at that,” he says.