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NWSL and the WNBA

 
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ClayK



Joined: 11 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: 07/09/19 9:47 am    ::: NWSL and the WNBA Reply Reply with quote

In a down summer for the WNBA (the stars are MIA, for the most part, and so far the play has been below previous standards of quality), women's soccer started sucking all the women's sports' oxygen out of the room.

So, question 1: Is there room in the media market and the fan base for women's sports for a highly successful WNBA and highly successful NWSL?

My sense would be that the fan base is probably there, but the media market (sponsorships and local broadcasts) might be a tougher sell. From a media/branding perspective, how much difference is there in supporting basketball over soccer, and how much is gained by supporting both rather than one?

There is a problem with the fan base, though, as both leagues play at the same time, so again the question is whether the NWSL's new fans will be created or some percentage will shift over from the WNBA? I think they're pretty different, though I don't really know, but there probably is some overlap.

Question 2: Ownership -- are there enough potential owners for both leagues, especially as profits will likely be hard to come by?

I don't follow MLS that much, but I read that the continued expansion and resulting fees are keeping many teams afloat, and that a lot are still underwater. If the men's league is struggling, it follows that the women probably will to some extent -- much like the WNBA.

So is the potential pool of owners of women's franchises big enough to support both an expanded, upgraded NWSL and a healthy, expanded WNBA?

The answers to both questions depend in part on how much of a separate fan base/community/ownership pool does women's soccer have, as opposed to the fan base/community/ownership pool being more generally interested in women's sports?

I don't really know, as I've paid little attention to the NWSL, which I didn't know for sure until today doesn't have a franchise in the Bay Area (it's obvious when I think about it, though).



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threadkiller1201



Joined: 19 Sep 2005
Posts: 259
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PostPosted: 07/11/19 3:11 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I've decided to be a season-ticket holder for both my local WNBA team and NWSL team, mostly to support women's sports, tho it can get kind of hairy when games do conflict!


Bob Lamm



Joined: 11 Apr 2010
Posts: 3080
Location: New York City


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PostPosted: 07/11/19 8:26 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

In the near future. the excitement about women's soccer may not help the WNBA.

Over the long term, I believe that anything that brings women's sports and athletics into the spotlight will help all of them. Some of the young girls who were at the tickertape parade on Wednesday may pursue soccer seriously. Some may turn to basketball, or swimming,
or track and field, or whatever. But they--and the boys there--are now excited about watching great female athletes and hopefully will continue watching throughout their lives. And communicate their excitement about women's sports to THEIR children.


toad455



Joined: 16 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: 07/11/19 8:46 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

The NWSL will see a bump this season because of the World Cup. But realistically, the NWSL draws less than the WNBA. It's held up by Portland and Utah and the US soccer federation. Half the NWSL teams are MLS owned, too. The optimism with the NWSL is their potential expansion teams that would be MLS owned(LAFC, Toronto, Minnesota, Atlanta). There's also the possible Mohegan Sun team in Connecticut, too. But the NWSL has several teams(like the WNBA) that need stability). These two leagues pairing up wouldn't really help either one.



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GlennMacGrady



Joined: 03 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: 07/11/19 9:11 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I don't think men's soccer would impact NBA (or MCBB) attendance or viewership significantly if the sports were played during the same season. I say that as a lifetime basketball fanatic who has never had much interest in soccer, and who is sure that there are millions just like me. MBB fanship is much stronger in numbers and in gravitational pull than soccer fanship, probably because of the lack of scoring in soccer. I suspect the same pattern would obtain in WBB vs. women's soccer, though the fanship for both is much less in numbers and gravitational pull than for the men's sports.

I recently read that whatever the level of interest there is in women's World Cup soccer, it's never carried over to a women's professional soccer league in America. All the leagues prior to the NWSL failed, and I would expect the NWSL to be a tougher fan sell than the WNBA. Though the venue attendance figures are not much worse for the NWSL than the WNBA, I know nothing about NWSL's TV and streaming viewership and revenues.

That all said, I hope women's soccer tries whatever it can for visibility.
awhom111



Joined: 19 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: 07/11/19 9:13 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

toad455 wrote:
The NWSL will see a bump this season because of the World Cup. But realistically, the NWSL draws less than the WNBA. It's held up by Portland and Utah and the US soccer federation. Half the NWSL teams are MLS owned, too. The optimism with the NWSL is their potential expansion teams that would be MLS owned(LAFC, Toronto, Minnesota, Atlanta). There's also the possible Mohegan Sun team in Connecticut, too. But the NWSL has several teams(like the WNBA) that need stability). These two leagues pairing up wouldn't really help either one.


Yeah, several NWSL teams are in awful shape and they have had to fold teams they could not move. Sky Blue makes any complaints WNBA players have about their work conditions look ridiculous and the salary for non-national team players is extremely low. The next two years are kind of important for the league, but the star players will have missed many games during both seasons. I am reasonably confident now that there will always be some kind of league with Portland, Utah, and North Carolina committed and Seattle run relatively well, but the poor overall management of this iteration of the league is concerning.

Clay, there's a lot of particularly virulent anti-MLS propaganda out there that needs to be filtered out a bit. They are not perfect and make a lot of wrong decisions, but the teams are doing fine. A couple of the older teams are in weaker positions than the newcomers, but are still in good shape because of past decisions that the league made, especially in building their own facilities. They seem likely to add another 5 to 10 expansion teams in the near future at fees above $200 million (which would be enough to buy many entire clubs in high level leagues in Europe). The second division USL is expanding as well at well over $5 million as a fee. The Bay Area lacked a venue to host a team until the Earthquakes built theirs and they do have an academy setup for girls, but continue to be noncommittal on a team as the ownership group is one of the cheapest in the league.
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