Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The battle for the future of women's hockey is between one side (NWHL) that wants to stand on its own and another side (PWHPA) that wants to be affiliated with the NHL —  similar to how the WNBA is affiliated with the NBA.

Yes, but: The "WNBA model" has evolved and is no longer what it used to be, so mentioning it as an example of the latter model's success is somewhat misleading.

By the numbers: In the midst of the best WNBA era to date, seven of the league's 12 teams are independently owned and have no NBA affiliation — proof that owners see value in the product on its own.

Between the lines: The NBA's "what's mine is yours" business approach was a boon in the WNBA's early days, but now that the league has the star-power and brand recognition to attract sponsors of its own, it can hurt business.

  • Prime example: On an episode of HBO's "The Shop," WNBA star Sue Bird gave the example of "Shoe Company A" signing a deal with the NBA that includes exclusive WNBA rights.
  • "Shoe Company A" is funding the WNBA but has no real incentive to market it, since their contract is with the NBA. "Shoe Company B" might show up with a full-blown WNBA marketing strategy, but the WNBA can't sign with them because "Shoe Company A" already owns exclusive rights.

In other words: "When the NBA leverages its relationships, it helps. When the NBA tosses the WNBA in as a sweetener for its own deals, it hurts," writes The IX's Erica Ayala.

The bottom line: The "independent" model vs. the "aligned with established men's league" model are often presented as the only two paths forward for women's sports. But it's a lot more complicated than that.

Go deeper: Coronavirus causes delay in WNBA season and training camps

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.