Why isn't the WNBA that popular?

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  1. profile image0
    Stevennix2001posted 12 years ago

    I was talking about this once with a classmate of mine back in high school.  A little over a decade ago I believe, and he said that WNBA players are inferior to the NBA players, and that's why he'll never watch the WNBA.  Personally, I highly disagree with this statement, as I always believed that women and men are both equal.  However, I have met quite a few men predominantly that feel the same way, but I can never understand why. 

    To be honest, I have tried watching a few games in the past and while some were fun to watch, there really isn't a player in the WNBA that interests me, or any teams for that matter.  Don't get me wrong, I do feel that the players in that league are talented, and I certainly would never agree with the men that have claimed they were inferior players, as those guys are just sexist morons if you ask me.  However, what are you're thoughts on this?  Why is it that America does not support the WNBA?  It's still basketball isn't it?  Who cares if it's a man or woman playing?  What are you're thoughts? 

    By the way, I apologize severely to any and all women out there that this post offends, as that was not my intention.  No, my only intention here is to find out why people don't support the WNBA from people that I would deem to be way more intelligent to answer this query, as I hold a lot of hubpage users in the highest regards. 

    Anyways, I really do appreciate you're feedback on this.

  2. LakeShow T profile image75
    LakeShow Tposted 12 years ago

    This is a good question and have wondered the same thing myself, especially because it seems like a lot of women do like basketball. I guess a couple of things that stick out to me are a lack of storylines and lack of exposure and marketing.

    Storylines -

    For me, I can think of a couple times I have had a bit of interest in the WNBA. First, when it started 13-15 years ago I wanted to see how the new league would turn out since I loved basketball. It was interesting the first few seasons because they had a great storyline going when the Houston Comets won the first 4 Championships. In any sport, it is interesting to follow a team or an athlete with an amazing winning streak.

    Then I was interested to see how Chamique Holdsclaw would do in the WNBA after having one of the best college careers of all-time. She did not fare so well, so the interest diminished.

    The most recent point of interest for me was when Candace Parker came into the WNBA after also having one of the best college careers of all-time. She was really the most dominant female player I had ever seen. I was interested enough to watch her first WNBA game. I think it was on ABC. She put on an incredible performance and it was very exciting to watch. I think she had over 30 points and almost compiled a triple-double in that first game and it turned into a big story on Sportscenter and ESPN's afternoon sports talk shows. Then the problem was that there was just very little exposure after that because nothing big happened. I didn't see them on TV and then I heard she missed her 2nd season due to giving birth and then missed last season due to injury.

    The point is what the WNBA lacks is storylines in terms of outstanding performances that you'll see on SportsCenter (also exposure issue) or huge winning streaks, or dominant championship runs. Things that help grab people's attention enough to want to follow it.

    Exposure -

    With all of that said, I'm sure the league does have other great players but nobody knows about it because I'm not even sure if games are on ABC anymore. I think you'll only see WNBA Finals games on ESPN and by that time you don't know anything about the teams or players enough to follow it or try to gain an interest. So the exposure has gone down from the time it started. As stated earlier, you never see any incredible streaks or performances on SportsCenter either. I'm not sure if that's because they're not happening or because there is not much of a market for it. I'd guess the former.

    Afterall, what any sport needs to generate interest is exposure and storylines. Look at what Lance Armstrong did for the tour De France or what Tiger Woods did for golf. In a similar realm, how popular was the NBA before Magic, Larry, and Michael? I know the NBA Finals were shown on tape delay until Larry and Magic and probably had little marketing until MJ. These are the things the WNBA could use.

    I don't know. That's all I have off the top of my head.

    1. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      You know, I think you hit the nail on the head with this response, as I don't think anyone could've said it better.  Yeah, i think the general lack of media exposure and interesting storylines to follow is what's really killing the WNBA right now.  It's a shame too, as the potential is there for it to be a lot more than what it is now.

    2. profile image58
      SsvRrwQposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Sexism, not so much in the viewers, but in the marketing budgets.

      1. profile image0
        Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        How did you come to that conclusion?

        1. profile image58
          SsvRrwQposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          My opinion is based upon the following :

          1. AFAIK there has not been any major marketing pushes.

          2. I believe there would be major marketing pushes for similar levels of play if it were males playing.

          1. profile image0
            Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Yeah, you do have a valid point there.  Plus, I tend to notice that most female athletes that are popular are often promoted as sex symbols to some degree.  (I.E. Danica Patrick of Indy car racing, or Venus Williams of women's tennis)

            Whereas the WNBA, I remember hearing once how Sue Byrd told a commentator that he could spank her if she didn't win the title that year, as some sort of flirtation.  Well, I know the league fined her heavily for that remark, as they didn't want to have any of their WNBA players act like that in public.  Which makes me wonder if the WNBA league not promoting these girls as sex symbols to some degree is hurting their sport.  Not saying that I think women should be exploited like that, as I certainly don't think anyone should.

            However, the reality is when it comes to women sports, it's a lot harder to sell in the United States; especially considering that statistically  men watch more tv and sports than women do.  Not only that, but most young men tend to watch more male sports because it's easier to identify with the athlete versus a woman.  Sad, but it's true.

            1. shogan profile image79
              shoganposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              Sex Symbol=Venus Williams?  hmm

              1. profile image0
                Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

                Well to be fair, I never found Venus Williams remotely attractive, but I have heard various commentators talk about how allegedly attractive she is, and how she's somewhat of a sex symbol in the past.  Personally, I don't see it, but who am i to judge?  Besides, beauty is in the eye of the beholder as I always say.

                1. shogan profile image79
                  shoganposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                  Agreed...I've just never heard her referred to that way before.

  3. Richard83 profile image70
    Richard83posted 12 years ago

    First, it is a women sport. Second, it is women basketball. I believe women football is more popular. Which man wouldn't want to watch these hardcore chicks battle on the field? Lastly, promotion. They are not promoted very much, just a few games on ESPN. They need a few big names in the sport that can carry a image for the association. That would help.

  4. I am DB Cooper profile image64
    I am DB Cooperposted 12 years ago

    Men make up a greater portion of the sports-watching demographic than women. Men tend to prefer watching male sports or sports that are technically co-ed (as most major professional sports are) but at the top level nearly all participants are male (the NHL has had some female goalies).

    Men and women are not equal on an athletic level. Look at Olympic track & field records for evidence of this. The top female sprinter would have trouble breaking the top 1,000 overall times for men. Long jump and high jump scores are similarly lower for women. If we were to just look at pro basketball players, we'd find that men are significantly taller and have a much longer wingspan, both of which are beneficial on offense and defense.

    Better marketing might help women's sports, but there are still a lot of people out there who are only interested in watching sports at its highest levels. They don't watch the WNBA for the same reason they don't watch the NBA Development League.

  5. Cagsil profile image72
    Cagsilposted 12 years ago

    The women players wear too much clothes? lol (j/k) tongue

  6. optimus grimlock profile image61
    optimus grimlockposted 12 years ago

    layup contest r the best to watch!!!!

  7. optimus grimlock profile image61
    optimus grimlockposted 12 years ago

    if you like adams apples or bulges on youy women u might fing them attractive

    1. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this


  8. optimus grimlock profile image61
    optimus grimlockposted 12 years ago

    the new ad campain is pretty good they have nba stars telling people to watch the wnba. They make it sound like the womans game is as good as the mens. Its one step above watching golf and soccer, but the adds a nice idea.

    1. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, it's a nice idea.  I think what they should do is probably have the WNBA play a few of their preaseason games against the nba teams that are no longer in the playoffs.  that might generate a lot more interest.

      1. I am DB Cooper profile image64
        I am DB Cooperposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Those games might generate a lot of interest, but I don't think it would make people want to watch the WNBA. The physical differences would make the game laughable.

        When I was in high school, the varsity girls team would scrimmage against the junior varsity boys team to help prepare them for sectionals and the state championship tournament. The JV boys team was seen as more comparable to the competition they would face when they went up against the top girls teams in the state, and much better than the varsity girls teams they played in their region. Those girls teams at my high school won multiple state championships while I was there, but they were still only about as good as the JV boys team. A lot of those JV boys weren't even close to their full adult height yet.

        I think the Playboy idea is sadly the best one yet for generating interest in this league. Professional women's sports tend to suffer without sex appeal. Nobody watches the WNBA or the LPGA or the Women's World Cup or Pro Softball. A lot of people watch women's tennis and that lingerie football league.

        1. profile image0
          Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Yeah after thinking about it, I think the playboy idea might be the best way to generate more attention to the sport; even though it's sad when you stop to think about it.  Then again, sports viewership is marketed towards men, since they make up the majority of the target audience.  Therefore, if you can't appeal to their competitive nature of seeing their favorite athletes win, then you might have to find other ways to appeal to them.

  9. optimus grimlock profile image61
    optimus grimlockposted 12 years ago

    that would work but so would playing topless lol

    1. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      lol  that or they could try to get playboy to become a sponsor of them.  maybe have a few players pose in that magazine, so it'll eliminate the image that the women of that league aren't feminine enough.

  10. optimus grimlock profile image61
    optimus grimlockposted 12 years ago

    got a better chance of hustler doin it. diana turosie naked not bad

  11. optimus grimlock profile image61
    optimus grimlockposted 12 years ago

    remember when brandy chastain took her top off people started watching womens soccer for a lil while

    1. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, that's true.

  12. whitney_185 profile image74
    whitney_185posted 12 years ago

    As a big fan of women's sports I have noticed something about women's basketball. They tend to play with a much more intense defense. Men's basketball focuses on offense and scoring points, making it more exciting, where in women's the defense puts a lot more pressure on the offense resulting in less points, and less excitement from the average viewer.

    Women are also less comfortable being in the spotlight, and prefer to add to the team rather than be the star, so that must play into the unheard of egotistical WNBA players. That's something you can't change about women, so unless they get a few outlandish, self absorbed players (who run rampant in the NBA) to provide the "entertainment value" I don't see the WNBA getting anymore coverage by the media.

    1. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Well you might have a good point there, as I know a lot of male leagues like the NBA, MLB, NFL, and NHL have all tailored their rules to be more in favor of offense than defensive schemes. Allowing for less contact, and an effort to speed up the game. 

      Perhaps the commisioner of the WNBA should start to implement more rules to favor more offensive plays rather than defensive.  After all, it seems fans are more obsessed over offensive glory than watching a team play the right way and win off hard nose defense.

      As for your other point about women playing unselfishly, you do bring up another good point.  as I always said, women are the smarter of the sexes, as they don't allow their egos to often get in the way of what needs to be done.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all women are not egotistical, as I know some are, and I even had the displeasure of meeting one once. However, most women from my experience aren't egotistical.  If anything, they're about as far from that as you can get. 

      Personally, outside of the playboy idea, and probably changing the rules to encourage more offense like the other leagues do, I really don't know how else you can fix the ratings for this league.  I think it's rather sad though, as I personally feel if the league was promoted a bit better it could've been so much more than it is today.


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