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Why don't WCBB fans follow players to the WNBA

 
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GlennMacGrady



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PostPosted: 05/10/17 11:00 pm    ::: Why don't WCBB fans follow players to the WNBA Reply Reply with quote

THIS long article from Deadspin is quite interesting.

Quote:
considering how popular women’s college basketball has become and how the same talented and popular college players matriculate to the WNBA. The fans, though, don’t always follow.

Consider this: The 2017 women’s college basketball NCAA championship game between Mississippi State and South Carolina drew 3.8 million viewers between live and streaming. But the fifth game of the 2016 WNBA Finals (which was won by the Los Angeles Sparks on a dramatic buzzer-beater tossed up by Nneka Ogwumike) drew about 528,000 viewers—a drastic gap.

Quote:

Players like Maya Moore are often shell-shocked when they go from a major women’s college basketball market—where they play in front of packed arenas—to the WNBA, where some stadiums are barely half full. Moore wrote about her frustration with invisibility for The Players’ Tribune in 2015, saying:

"There’s this unnatural break in exposure for the highest level of women’s basketball in the world. Wait, what happened here? That’s a question we as WNBA players ask ourselves. We go from amazing AAU experiences to high school All-American games to the excitement and significant platform of the collegiate level to … this. All of that visibility to … this. Less coverage. Empty seats. Fewer eyeballs. In college, your coaches tell you to stay focused on your team and the game—not the media attention. But you know you’re on national television. You know people are following you. You can feel the excitement. And then as a professional, all of that momentum, all of that passion, all of that support — the ball of momentum is deflating before my eyes.

"Gone."


I'm one who follows the pattern described in the article. For 20 years I've tried to follow players I loved in college, and whom I may have seen play every college game, to root for them on their WNBA teams . . . only to have my interest always fade away about half way through the season. I still like watching the players, but lose interest in the team; and when I lose interest in the team, I stop watching.

I've never quite figured out why this is or why, more generally, I can't stay interested in any WNBA team.
Matt5762



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 7:00 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Basically none of the players I follow in college make it to the WNBA, which is probably the single greatest factor influencing my lack of interest in the league.

It's just the reality of a small league and the vast majority of the college talent being confined to a few powerhouse programs.

If I was dead-set on following the players I supported in college, I'd probably be more inclined to follow the Spanish/Russian/Australian/etc. leagues overseas.


Ex-Ref



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 7:23 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Who makes up the crowds at college games? I think that if you look at that, you'll find your answers.

Seniors - I'd guess driving distance to the games, limited income and possibly lack of computers/computer knowledge would be factors.

Families with younger kids - So much stuff to do in the summer.



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ClayK



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 8:44 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Part of it is Our Girls' Syndrome, which fades with distance apparently.

And of course not many players make the WNBA each year and of those who do, they often don't play much. Consider: There are 60 starters in the WNBA, and looking at this year's comments on teams, many of them are not going to be big scorers or rebounders. If you were a big fan of Tiffany Mitchell, say, what fun would it be to watch her be ordinary in the WNBA?

And if you were a big fan of Haley Peters, say, why would you watch the WNBA to see her play 10 ineffective minutes?

Also, very few college programs draw very well, so there aren't many Cal fans, for example, who would follow Brittany Boyd in New York because there just aren't many Cal fans to begin with.



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ArtBest23



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 10:42 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I think it fades with time also. Every year a new crop of players arrives on college campuses to displace those gone in the minds of college fans. I suspect the shelf life of enthusiastically cheering for those who have graduated is pretty short.

(But if you read the Dallas thread in the WNBA forum you'd conclude there is a rabid following for at least some players who move on to the pros.)

And there certainly seems to be a core of followers for Delle Donne who are loyal to her rather to any particular team.

Nonetheless, even for UConn players, how many UConn alums or fans actually live in the vicinity of Dallas or Minneapolis or Seattle. I'd venture not enough to make a material blip in WNBA attendance even if the presence of one of their favorites motivated them to become a fan of the local WNBA team. If Delle Donne signed with LA, how many Delaware alums or fans live in the LA area? I'm not sure you can conclude there is no carryover at all. There just aren't enough local fans of every college represented on most rosters to make a big difference. Except maybe for the Sun. Or, perhaps if you put a franchise in Knoxville or Nashville.

It may help TV numbers more than ticket sales.


summertime blues



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 12:15 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

1. Crappy coverage. Really crappy. Worse even than WCBB, which, as we know, is pretty bad in most places, except for those teams with the most rabid following, and nearly non-existent nationally. TV coverage? Don't make me laugh. And the print journalists covering it, with a couple of exceptions, do so as an afterthought.

2. Location, location, location. Washington got a team. So what? There isn't a built-in following there for WBB, Wizards or no Wizards. I could conceivably go see a game there once or twice a summer, but why bother? It's 2.5 hours each way, and nobody I care about plays for them (see below). Put the teams somewhere there's a built-in following. I'd guess there might be one in Knoxville or even Nashville.

3. As mentioned, Our Girls syndrome, and player following. I admit to that myself. I followed Tamika Catchings her whole career, which made me something of a Fever fan; thank goodness she stayed put. If I lived in Indy I'd probably have gone to some games. I follow Jazmon Gwathmey, partly because I know her slightly as well as because she's my homie, and now she's with the Fever also. And I follow Candace Parker and a few others. But a team? Not really.

4. Bad TV coverage. Even with a package. Not even going to bother with a rant about that.



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mzonefan



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 1:17 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I'm very much an "our girls" kind of gal. I give 100% to "my" team during the college season - not missing a home game, going to nearby away games and 20 years of the B1G tournament.

I don't watch the NBA. I'm a bandwagon Michigan men's basketball fan.

I love the unique atmosphere of women's college sports where I can watch the students grow over four years and get to know the staff. I also go to volleyball and women's soccer. I rarely miss a softball game and have been to the WCWS several times.

When the college sports season comes to a close, I look forward to turning off the TV, reading, hanging out with friends, doing long-distance bike rides, gardening and visiting with the neighbors.

I did give the WNBA a try. When the Detroit Shock needed a season ticket holder commitment in order to get a franchise, my partner and I signed up. We purchased a full season the first year and made it to maybe 10 games. The next year we went to 4-5. The Palace of Auburn Hills is about an hour and fifteen minutes without traffic from our house in Ann Arbor. Weeknight games made this really difficult. The time spent getting to games that weren't that good ended up not being worth it to us.

I made it back a handful of times over the years and occasionally watched a game on TV. I was there for every Shock playoff game that was played at Eastern Michigan (due to a facility conflict) and saw the championship trophy get presented.

I'm sure if a Michigan player made a roster, I'd pay attention. In the meantime, summer's for re-charging and being outdoors to enjoy the limited good weather we have.


PRballer



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 2:18 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

It's also a small league. 12 teams and there is enough talent for 16 teams. I firmly believe that. So you don't have the history with Houston, Sacramento, Detroit, Cleveland. There could simply just be more exposure for the league based on # of teams alone.

But it's also up to the individual players and women's basketball as a whole. Clay talks about this all the time, how his players likely don't know who Jennifer Azzi is, for example.

I recently saw some online videos/interviews with the McDonald's All-Americans in Chicago, and they grouped the signees together by what college they are attending, doing the "rapid fire" questions thing. They had the four Tennessee Lady Vols signees together and were asking questions like "who's your favorite NBA team?" and then when the question was "Name four famous Lady Vols" - they completely stammered. Couldn't do it. Finally one said Holly Warlick - THEIR COACH - and one of the guards said "oh, what's her name..." until another player finally came up with "Catchings." No Parker. No Holdsclaw. Not even Kara Lawson who is a big deal in MBB and WBB and on national TV regularly.

And one of the stumped kids is Anastasia Hayes, a Tennessee native.

Rolling Eyes Shocked


pilight



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 2:36 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

In the introduction to Bird at the Buzzer, Jeff Goldberg says that women's basketball lacks "a sense of its own mythology. So determined are the passionate and loyal caretakers of the sport to further advance it into the future that there has been precious little focus placed on its glorious past."

The game that book is about, the 2001 Big East Final, and Sue Bird's shot that ended it should be as well known as Christian Laettner's last second shot against Kentucky nine years earlier but it isn't.



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LitePal



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 2:48 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Maybe people aren't following it because they don't like it.

I was there for the inaugural seasons of the W. Lots of families, young girls. They did not continue coming. Whether it's a small league or not, there isn't enough interest to make more teams, hence the consolidation of the league.

There may be many reasons for it but in the end, you can't make someone like something. The W had amazing publicity and television for its first few years. It petered out because the crowds didn't come. Cause and effect. If there is a demand, you'll see more of it. There isn't the demand.


Jdub



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 3:27 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

So few college players make it to the WNBA and even fewer make an impact or get enough playing time to bother following. Now if your favorite college player was Maya Moore, I don't know.


StevenHW



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 3:31 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

PRballer wrote:
It's also a small league. 12 teams and there is enough talent for 16 teams. I firmly believe that. So you don't have the history with Houston, Sacramento, Detroit, Cleveland. There could simply just be more exposure for the league based on # of teams alone.

But it's also up to the individual players and women's basketball as a whole. Clay talks about this all the time, how his players likely don't know who Jennifer Azzi is, for example.

I recently saw some online videos/interviews with the McDonald's All-Americans in Chicago, and they grouped the signees together by what college they are attending, doing the "rapid fire" questions thing. They had the four Tennessee Lady Vols signees together and were asking questions like "who's your favorite NBA team?" and then when the question was "Name four famous Lady Vols" - they completely stammered. Couldn't do it. Finally one said Holly Warlick - THEIR COACH - and one of the guards said "oh, what's her name..." until another player finally came up with "Catchings." No Parker. No Holdsclaw. Not even Kara Lawson who is a big deal in MBB and WBB and on national TV regularly.

And one of the stumped kids is Anastasia Hayes, a Tennessee native.

Rolling Eyes Shocked


Very disappointing to hear about this. I'm not a Tennessee fan, and I don't even expect the signees to be an expert on Lady Vols hoops history, but I would have hoped they recognized some of their legendary players! Rolling Eyes

I can only assume that high schoolers are more interested in their own lives and playing the game, instead of just watching the game and players from 5-10 years ago.



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FrozenLVFan



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 6:51 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I agree with the comments about crappy coverage and too much other stuff to do in the summer. However, I think the wrong question is being asked. I don't think most sports fans follow players, they follow teams. The last player I followed was Pat Summitt from the "76 Olympics, and since then I've followed Tenn (along with casually following alma maters' teams). I've seen every Tenn game except two since the advent of ESPN3 ~10 years ago.

I find it very hard to follow most professional sports teams from one year to the next because of all the player trades. If I want to follow a player, I have to change team loyalty every couple of years. I think long term fans for any sport are those that have a lot of team loyalty. The WNBA doesn't generate that for me.


AAOK423



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 7:28 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

As a loyal WCBB fan and a WNBA fan, ive always wondered this. Seeing explanations now I guess I get it. People want to root for their team and the girls on their team but no girl on their team is likely go to the WNBA....and even if one does she will probably leave the state where she played college.

Then there is the coverage issue. Yeah, its not great. BUT its a lot better imo than people make it out to be. For example, I can watch every game of the season for about 12 bucks. Try being a fan of the National Pro FastPitch league and trying to catch a game. But of course, having to pay is going to cut out all the causal fans. BUT games are now on ESPN2, NBATV, Local fox channels, AND twitter.....that's a lot better than any other female sports league. Maybe the NWSL is easier to watch due to free games being streamed on go90 but they only have one game televised one day a week.

Personally, I love women's basketball. For years now my college teams have been Louisville and OU. Yeah, I paid more attention to players Shoni Schimmel and Courtney Paris and Danielle Robinson and even Asia Taylor than other WNBA player BUT given the opportunity to watch Sue Bird, Skylar Diggins, Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, ect.. Hell yeah, I'm taking that opportunity any day.

IMO the WNBA has the best players in the world. Its been easy to be a fan and I'm a fan who doesn't have a team but I watch just about every game because I find it to be highly entertaining. I find it kinda disappointing that so many women's sports fans don't.


insidewinder



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PostPosted: 05/11/17 10:26 pm    ::: No local team Reply Reply with quote

I don't follow the WNBA very closely. I think a major reason is because I have no local team to follow. I am not invested in the results. I guess I could just pick a team to follow, but to really get into it I need to attend some games in person. Put a team near me and I would go to games. if I went to games I would start to care about the team. I do follow players, but not (totally) in an "our girls" way. I keep track of players that interest me because I've seen them in college, but from multiple teams.

I don't like the pro vibe as much as college. I don't enjoy the NBA either for the most part. I think the athletes are amazing but I don't get attached to a team, and I do have a super good NBA team in my town. So some of my trouble getting into the WNBA is just that I like college sports better than pro sports.

I also get burned out on basketball fandom a bit and like to have a few months where I am not obsessing about a team. I watch stuff like the NWSL soccer (TV and streams) over the summer. I was never a soccer fan until maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Now I enjoy it and the change of pace from basketball. The NWSL is a pro league so I am somewhat contradicting myself about not getting into pro sports. The NWSL is only in year 5 and it feels like a start-up, not a big time pro league. I guess it is the pro sport I follow most now.

I also follow women's college volleyball these days in the late summer and fall, attending games and watching televised matches. Basically I've come to appreciate other sports and enjoy following them. I never knew much about volleyball but now I know enough to understand a little of the intricacies. Same with soccer. That learning is fun. I love basketball most and know it best by far but there is a bit of been there, seen that feel to it.

I probably should make more effort to follow the WNBA. If I did I would almost certainly enjoy it. Just so much else going on and no local hook to drag me in.


Howee



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PostPosted: 05/12/17 12:26 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Jdub wrote:
So few college players make it to the WNBA and even fewer make an impact or get enough playing time to bother following. Now if your favorite college player was Maya Moore, I don't know.


Well, technically, the vast majority of pros played college somewhere here in the usa, but I know what you mean: each YEAR, only a select few make an impact on the league.

insidewinder wrote:
I don't follow the WNBA very closely. I think a major reason is because I have no local team to follow.....I don't like the pro vibe as much as college.


That 'bout sums it up for me.

Re: the OP question, do fans of male bb players follow their pro adventures all that ardently? I think it's more about being a fan of a hometown team.

For me, the college game, with it's school allegiances and rivalries, is what interests me. I like watching kids develop over the few years they have, and their potential to possibly become nationally known, etc.

I'd probably go to more pro games if I lived nearer to them, but....I'm happy enough to catch 2 or 3 of the better games on TV, and save my energies for the college season.

(AAOK, check your pm box! Wink )



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Jlcarter



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PostPosted: 05/12/17 7:16 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I follow players more than teams in the WNBA. I had been a Indiana fan because of Catchings.


ClayK



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PostPosted: 05/12/17 10:09 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

A couple things:

*I think the WNBA has a media presence and good local awareness in most of the 12 cities where there's a franchise. Outside of those areas, it doesn't do much.

Major League Baseball is much the same, actually, and so is the NHL. There's interest where there are teams, but it's local and regional, not national. Only the NFL and NBA have much national impact.

*As I've beaten into the ground over the years, girls are simply not sports fans the ways boys are. You can blame gender expectations, human nature or whatever you want, but high school girls do not follow sports. They like the competition and they like the team aspect (the team they're on) but few have much interest in going home and watching a game on TV.

And those females who are sports fans generally are fans of men's sports rather than women's. If the women who went to NBA games in WNBA cities also went to WNBA games, attendance would jump dramatically.



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GlennMacGrady



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PostPosted: 05/12/17 10:51 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:
high school girls do not follow sports.


That was certainly true in my day and my children's, and I have no doubt it's still true -- whether the girls play sports and especially when they don't.

I think that partially plays into the topic, which is why college fans don't translate into WNBA fans. One answer is that college students aren't really fans of WCBB no matter whether they are girls or boys. The student sections at UConn and other schools I'm familiar with are sparse. College girls likely retain their general non-interest in sports, and college boys are simply not interested in female team sports. The fandom at many or most WCBB games seems to be overwhelming adults, often very senior adults.

That was certainly true at UConn in their years of attendance leadership and sold-out games. It always seemed to me that a large percentage of these "game attendees" were not really fans of WCBB in general or even basketball in general. The women's basketball team just seemed to attract not only a Blue Hair Phenomenon and an Our Girls Syndrome but also an Only This Sport Syndrome. These kinds of WCBB game attendees are probably not good candidates to become WNBA fans.

I'd be interested in knowing whether this older fan phenomenon is present at the current WCBB attendance leaders such as South Carolina.
ClayK



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PostPosted: 05/12/17 11:18 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

GlennMacGrady wrote:
ClayK wrote:
high school girls do not follow sports.


That was certainly true in my day and my children's, and I have no doubt it's still true -- whether the girls play sports and especially when they don't.

I think that partially plays into the topic, which is why college fans don't translate into WNBA fans. One answer is that college students aren't really fans of WCBB no matter whether they are girls or boys. The student sections at UConn and other schools I'm familiar with are sparse. College girls likely retain their general non-interest in sports, and college boys are simply not interested in female team sports. The fandom at many or most WCBB games seems to be overwhelming adults, often very senior adults.

That was certainly true at UConn in their years of attendance leadership and sold-out games. It always seemed to me that a large percentage of these "game attendees" were not really fans of WCBB in general or even basketball in general. The women's basketball team just seemed to attract not only a Blue Hair Phenomenon and an Our Girls Syndrome but also an Only This Sport Syndrome. These kinds of WCBB game attendees are probably not good candidates to become WNBA fans.

I'd be interested in knowing whether this older fan phenomenon is present at the current WCBB attendance leaders such as South Carolina.


I know that when Stanford drew well for WCBB, it was not students but older adults, many female. But as that group aged, no one replaced them, really.



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bballjunkie



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PostPosted: 05/14/17 3:44 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I thought I read somewhere that Uconn sold out more games this past season than the season before. Darn I wish I could remember the article.

We need more dad's with daughters or parents taking their youngens to the game. The USA Today piece on Kobe Bryant taking his daughter to the Sparks game was cool, we need all the support we can get.


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PostPosted: 05/14/17 3:50 pm    ::: Re: No local team Reply Reply with quote

insidewinder wrote:
I don't follow the WNBA very closely. I think a major reason is because I have no local team to follow. I am not invested in the results. I guess I could just pick a team to follow, but to really get into it I need to attend some games in person. Put a team near me and I would go to games. if I went to games I would start to care about the team. I do follow players, but not (totally) in an "our girls" way. I keep track of players that interest me because I've seen them in college, but from multiple teams.

I don't like the pro vibe as much as college. I don't enjoy the NBA either for the most part. I think the athletes are amazing but I don't get attached to a team, and I do have a super good NBA team in my town. So some of my trouble getting into the WNBA is just that I like college sports better than pro sports.

I also get burned out on basketball fandom a bit and like to have a few months where I am not obsessing about a team. I watch stuff like the NWSL soccer (TV and streams) over the summer. I was never a soccer fan until maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Now I enjoy it and the change of pace from basketball. The NWSL is a pro league so I am somewhat contradicting myself about not getting into pro sports. The NWSL is only in year 5 and it feels like a start-up, not a big time pro league. I guess it is the pro sport I follow most now.

I also follow women's college volleyball these days in the late summer and fall, attending games and watching televised matches. Basically I've come to appreciate other sports and enjoy following them. I never knew much about volleyball but now I know enough to understand a little of the intricacies. Same with soccer. That learning is fun. I love basketball most and know it best by far but there is a bit of been there, seen that feel to it.

I probably should make more effort to follow the WNBA. If I did I would almost certainly enjoy it. Just so much else going on and no local hook to drag me in.


Warriors owners are talking with the W and it sounds promising, would that help get you to games if they were that local? I would go to every game in the bay. I have to mix in games with my travel to visit grandkids but I still enjoy going.


insidewinder



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PostPosted: 05/14/17 11:22 pm    ::: Re: No local team Reply Reply with quote

Nixtreefan wrote:
insidewinder wrote:
I don't follow the WNBA very closely. I think a major reason is because I have no local team to follow. I am not invested in the results. I guess I could just pick a team to follow, but to really get into it I need to attend some games in person. Put a team near me and I would go to games. if I went to games I would start to care about the team. I do follow players, but not (totally) in an "our girls" way. I keep track of players that interest me because I've seen them in college, but from multiple teams.

I don't like the pro vibe as much as college. I don't enjoy the NBA either for the most part. I think the athletes are amazing but I don't get attached to a team, and I do have a super good NBA team in my town. So some of my trouble getting into the WNBA is just that I like college sports better than pro sports.

I also get burned out on basketball fandom a bit and like to have a few months where I am not obsessing about a team. I watch stuff like the NWSL soccer (TV and streams) over the summer. I was never a soccer fan until maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Now I enjoy it and the change of pace from basketball. The NWSL is a pro league so I am somewhat contradicting myself about not getting into pro sports. The NWSL is only in year 5 and it feels like a start-up, not a big time pro league. I guess it is the pro sport I follow most now.

I also follow women's college volleyball these days in the late summer and fall, attending games and watching televised matches. Basically I've come to appreciate other sports and enjoy following them. I never knew much about volleyball but now I know enough to understand a little of the intricacies. Same with soccer. That learning is fun. I love basketball most and know it best by far but there is a bit of been there, seen that feel to it.

I probably should make more effort to follow the WNBA. If I did I would almost certainly enjoy it. Just so much else going on and no local hook to drag me in.


Warriors owners are talking with the W and it sounds promising, would that help get you to games if they were that local? I would go to every game in the bay. I have to mix in games with my travel to visit grandkids but I still enjoy going.


If the Warriors added a WNBA team I would go for sure. Probably be a few years until after they build the new San Francisco arena.


ClayK



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PostPosted: 05/15/17 11:24 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I think the WNBA in the new arena will happen in 2020. The arena is likely to open fall of 2019 for the Warriors, and then Lacob will be competing with Oracle (in Oakland) and the SAP Center (San Jose) for events to put in the new facility. Given that, the 17 WNBA dates are probably more valuable in the Bay Area than elsewhere, where there's less competition for such things as concerts, rodeos, etc.

It will be interesting, though, to see how easy it is to get to the Chase Center (already sold the naming rights). BART, the rapid transit system, doesn't come close, so you'll either have to transfer to the unreliable SF Muni bus system or try to drive through really bad traffic and then pay $30 for parking.



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PostPosted: 05/16/17 12:50 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

As a girl growing up in the sixties, I followed the UCLA men and LA Lakers. I saw the UCLA women play LA Tech at Pauley Pavilion, then followed Cal women when I lived in Berkeley. When I moved to Durham, NC, I started attending the local Duke women's games - along with a few hundred of my friends. I got very attached to players - especially Mo Currie - during the Coach G era. I won't say much about the McCallie era, except that Chelsea Gray is one of the most phenomenal talents I've ever seen.

As far as the WNBA, I am one of those who's excited it exists and I follow it because it's there. The closest team geographically was 2 hrs away in Charlotte, NC, and I attended a bunch of games, but when they picked Kelly Miller over Tamika Catchings, they lost me as a fan. Next closest team was the Mystics - 5 hours away. Coincidentally, Alana Beard became the franchise player, then Mo Currie and Lindsey Harding. I've stuck with the Styx through the horrendous Trudi Lacey years and I'm excited for the team this year after adding Delle Donne.

Now, the LA Sparks would have been a natural for me as an LA native, but Lisa Leslie was just too prissy for me. Now, she's gone and Chelsea Gray is there so I'm all in on the Sparks. So much so that I'm afraid to watch an LA Sparks/Wash Mystics game this week.

I cheered for Alana and Chelsea in the WNBA finals as both contributed to winning the rings. To begin this season, Mo Currie has finally gotten some much deserved attention as the bright spot on the SA Stars missing their entire starting backcourt. Basically, I follow the former Duke players, but it's fun to have "my teams" that I'm pulling for.

And, for me, with the current stench in the Duke Women's Basketball program, the WNBA season is more fun than the college season right now. I'd love to have a more year round women's basketball fandom and hopefully I'll be returning to the stadium in my back yard and follow Duke to some FF's again.

I realize I'm part of the "old guard" who dreamed of being able to watch women play when the only teams available as a girl were men's teams. And now, with Live Access available for most games, I can catch a majority of WNBA games on TV or online, which adds to the fun. Both of my teams won their first games and look like they can compete for the title. The best outcome would be for both to make the Finals - and the worst outcome would be for one of them to lose in the Finals.

And here's one more thing: Tina Charles led the league in points AND rebounds but Nneka Ogwumike's magical season beat her out for MVP. There's a Big Six vying for MVP this season and all but 1 have already won at least one MVP - Nneka, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Tina Charles. Breanna Stewart will win at least one MVP in her career and this year could be her first. Or will it be her teammate Jewell Loyd, who's started out red hot.

With any luck, one person reading this will decide to give the WNBA a shot. It's a LOT more fun if you pick a team to be "your" team and if you pick a game to watch that's got at least one team gelling. The Sparks/Mystics game this Thursday would be a good one to start with - two well coached teams with star power and full squads.



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PostPosted: 05/16/17 7:54 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

readyAIMfire53 wrote:
As a girl growing up in the sixties, I followed the UCLA men and LA Lakers. I saw the UCLA women play LA Tech at Pauley Pavilion, then followed Cal women when I lived in Berkeley. When I moved to Durham, NC, I started attending the local Duke women's games - along with a few hundred of my friends. I got very attached to players - especially Mo Currie - during the Coach G era. I won't say much about the McCallie era, except that Chelsea Gray is one of the most phenomenal talents I've ever seen.

As far as the WNBA, I am one of those who's excited it exists and I follow it because it's there. The closest team geographically was 2 hrs away in Charlotte, NC, and I attended a bunch of games, but when they picked Kelly Miller over Tamika Catchings, they lost me as a fan. Next closest team was the Mystics - 5 hours away. Coincidentally, Alana Beard became the franchise player, then Mo Currie and Lindsey Harding. I've stuck with the Styx through the horrendous Trudi Lacey years and I'm excited for the team this year after adding Delle Donne.

Now, the LA Sparks would have been a natural for me as an LA native, but Lisa Leslie was just too prissy for me. Now, she's gone and Chelsea Gray is there so I'm all in on the Sparks. So much so that I'm afraid to watch an LA Sparks/Wash Mystics game this week.

I cheered for Alana and Chelsea in the WNBA finals as both contributed to winning the rings. To begin this season, Mo Currie has finally gotten some much deserved attention as the bright spot on the SA Stars missing their entire starting backcourt. Basically, I follow the former Duke players, but it's fun to have "my teams" that I'm pulling for.

And, for me, with the current stench in the Duke Women's Basketball program, the WNBA season is more fun than the college season right now. I'd love to have a more year round women's basketball fandom and hopefully I'll be returning to the stadium in my back yard and follow Duke to some FF's again.

I realize I'm part of the "old guard" who dreamed of being able to watch women play when the only teams available as a girl were men's teams. And now, with Live Access available for most games, I can catch a majority of WNBA games on TV or online, which adds to the fun. Both of my teams won their first games and look like they can compete for the title. The best outcome would be for both to make the Finals - and the worst outcome would be for one of them to lose in the Finals.

And here's one more thing: Tina Charles led the league in points AND rebounds but Nneka Ogwumike's magical season beat her out for MVP. There's a Big Six vying for MVP this season and all but 1 have already won at least one MVP - Nneka, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Tina Charles. Breanna Stewart will win at least one MVP in her career and this year could be her first. Or will it be her teammate Jewell Loyd, who's started out red hot.

With any luck, one person reading this will decide to give the WNBA a shot. It's a LOT more fun if you pick a team to be "your" team and if you pick a game to watch that's got at least one team gelling. The Sparks/Mystics game this Thursday would be a good one to start with - two well coached teams with star power and full squads.


I enjoyed this post Cool



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PostPosted: 05/16/17 10:39 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I'm going to put a different spin on this that many WNBA fans aren't going to like. Sorry, but it's slightly off topic. Not only do fans not follow players to the WNBA, but most women's basketball players aren't even big fans of the WNBA; yet most are big fans of the NBA. Why? (this is the part you won't like) Because, simply put, the NBA is exciting and the WNBA is not. And I'm not just talking about dunking. You can be exciting without dunking. I'm talking pace of play, highly skilled basketball displays, showmanship. Let's be honest. You may be a big fan of Sue Bird and think she's great, but does she REALLY excite you? I mean are you going to see some awesome dribbling skills like a Kyrie Irving or ridiculous passes like Steph Curry or some others? No, not really. She just kind of does her fundamental stuff and gets it done. Which is great, but it's not really going to get you pumped up. I don't think many girls get the showmanship part of the game. Maybe they were taught at a young age that this is how "girls play". Players like Shoni Schimmel and Samantha Prahalis got it. But the WNBA doesn't get it. I watch WNBA "highlights" and I'm like "how the hell is a pick and roll a highlight?" This is why people make fun of the WNBA. Being fundamental all the time is all well and good, but it doesn't make for super exciting basketball. This all falls on the GM's too. They keep vets who are old and boring instead of giving some young exciting quick skilled player fresh out of college or a young exciting player playing overseas a chance. So the games will just continue to be slow and plodding and unexciting. I understand it's a small league and they don't want to wait for a player to get acclimated to the league, but it would be better in the long run if the league would think more in terms of entertainment value with more young and exciting players.

Again, sorry it wasn't completely on topic. So you can ignore it if you want. But it's my opinion on the matter.



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PostPosted: 05/16/17 11:04 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

One thing I DO like about the WNBA is that in the All-Star game they still play like it means something. There isn't an ASG in any other sport where this happens.



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PostPosted: 05/16/17 1:20 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Jet Jaguar wrote:
I'm going to put a different spin on this that many WNBA fans aren't going to like. Sorry, but it's slightly off topic. Not only do fans not follow players to the WNBA, but most women's basketball players aren't even big fans of the WNBA; yet most are big fans of the NBA. Why? (this is the part you won't like) Because, simply put, the NBA is exciting and the WNBA is not. And I'm not just talking about dunking. You can be exciting without dunking. I'm talking pace of play, highly skilled basketball displays, showmanship. Let's be honest. You may be a big fan of Sue Bird and think she's great, but does she REALLY excite you? I mean are you going to see some awesome dribbling skills like a Kyrie Irving or ridiculous passes like Steph Curry or some others? No, not really. She just kind of does her fundamental stuff and gets it done. Which is great, but it's not really going to get you pumped up. I don't think many girls get the showmanship part of the game. Maybe they were taught at a young age that this is how "girls play". Players like Shoni Schimmel and Samantha Prahalis got it. But the WNBA doesn't get it. I watch WNBA "highlights" and I'm like "how the hell is a pick and roll a highlight?" This is why people make fun of the WNBA. Being fundamental all the time is all well and good, but it doesn't make for super exciting basketball. This all falls on the GM's too. They keep vets who are old and boring instead of giving some young exciting quick skilled player fresh out of college or a young exciting player playing overseas a chance. So the games will just continue to be slow and plodding and unexciting. I understand it's a small league and they don't want to wait for a player to get acclimated to the league, but it would be better in the long run if the league would think more in terms of entertainment value with more young and exciting players.

Again, sorry it wasn't completely on topic. So you can ignore it if you want. But it's my opinion on the matter.


All good points. Part of the fun of watching basketball, or any sport, are the occasional amazing displays of raw athleticism -- and they happen much more often in men's sports than women's because the men at that level are bigger, stronger, faster and more explosive. In short, a male player is much more likely to make a jaw-dropping athletic play than a female player, and jaw-dropping athletic plays are fun to watch.

That said, an exciting up-and-down game with plenty of scoring and lots of skill can also be a lot of fun, and bad men's basketball, even with the occasional spectacular dunk, is less attractive to many than a top-shelf women's game that features a lot of players with skill and the ability to score.



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PostPosted: 05/16/17 3:09 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I think expectations can be a barrier to following players from college to the WNBA.

1. the average fan not familiar with the WNBA does not understand how big a step up in average skill per player from college; thus, when some players have to change their game or don't make as big an impact, it's easy to blame on some sort of nebulous "quality of play" or "coaching", when it's just that overall skill level is not as differentiated as in college, meaning the "style" of play is rougher.

2. If you follow a star player through college who gets drafted into the WNBA, chances are they played for a top college program...that didn't lose very often. Particularly if they are a lottery player, suddenly they either go to a team that loses a lot, or they don't get much playing time.
It's the same sort of thing I see when fans fall away from a team that's rebuilding after having won the big game or multiple championships.

3. There is a difference in showmanship between the NBA and WNBA. There are fundamental differences in how the game is played. I'm always so surprised at how small the NBA court is when I watch the odd NBA game! Laughing It's a stark contrast.

4. There's a curious societal pressure regarding professional basketball that it's tough for me to articulate. There's this idea from men (particularly white men, since I think there was a demographic study of fandom that pointed to black men being more supportive of the WNBA) that they can match or surpass what they're seeing on the WNBA court (even if they're wrong), so it's not worth their time? I'm not saying this is necessarily conscious, or even germane to the conversation of college vs WNBA fandom, but it's hard not to mention it. And it's not just men, but the article I read focused on men. I'll try to find the reference.



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PostPosted: 05/16/17 3:11 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Jet Jaguar wrote:
I'm going to put a different spin on this that many WNBA fans aren't going to like. Sorry, but it's slightly off topic. Not only do fans not follow players to the WNBA, but most women's basketball players aren't even big fans of the WNBA; yet most are big fans of the NBA. Why? (this is the part you won't like) Because, simply put, the NBA is exciting and the WNBA is not. And I'm not just talking about dunking. You can be exciting without dunking. I'm talking pace of play, highly skilled basketball displays, showmanship. Let's be honest. You may be a big fan of Sue Bird and think she's great, but does she REALLY excite you? I mean are you going to see some awesome dribbling skills like a Kyrie Irving or ridiculous passes like Steph Curry or some others? No, not really. She just kind of does her fundamental stuff and gets it done. Which is great, but it's not really going to get you pumped up. I don't think many girls get the showmanship part of the game. Maybe they were taught at a young age that this is how "girls play". Players like Shoni Schimmel and Samantha Prahalis got it. But the WNBA doesn't get it. I watch WNBA "highlights" and I'm like "how the hell is a pick and roll a highlight?" This is why people make fun of the WNBA. Being fundamental all the time is all well and good, but it doesn't make for super exciting basketball. This all falls on the GM's too. They keep vets who are old and boring instead of giving some young exciting quick skilled player fresh out of college or a young exciting player playing overseas a chance. So the games will just continue to be slow and plodding and unexciting. I understand it's a small league and they don't want to wait for a player to get acclimated to the league, but it would be better in the long run if the league would think more in terms of entertainment value with more young and exciting players.

Again, sorry it wasn't completely on topic. So you can ignore it if you want. But it's my opinion on the matter.


That doesn't explain why people who follow WCBB, which is even less showy, don't follow the WNBA.



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PostPosted: 05/16/17 4:00 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:

That doesn't explain why people who follow WCBB, which is even less showy, don't follow the WNBA.


In order to explain that, you'd first have to address why they are following WCBB. Are they simply fans of their school (students, staff, alums, parents, whatever) and attend lots of their school's sporting events regardless of whether they are fans of the particular sport or not? That doesn't make them "followers of WCBB" nor should you expect them to follow the WNBA. I think, for example, there are a lot of people who may attend college soccer games who don't even like soccer and would never attend a soccer match if it wasn't their school playing (and probably never watch professional or international soccer except when the US team is playing). Probably some universe of people who fit that description for WCBB as well.

Are they simply going to the local college WCBB games because the tickets are cheap and it's a nice night out for seniors or for families with young kids? Again, not necessarily fans of the game itself or readily transferable to the pro game.

So after you consider that of the 350 Div I teams, there are only 25 averaging 4000 fans/game, and that most schools average in the hundreds, plus all the Div II, Div III , NAIA, etc with tiny audiences, how many people are actually in the stands or watching on TV primarily because they love Women's basketball?


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PostPosted: 05/16/17 11:27 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Somebody on a board one time gave the answer of an avid UConn fan when asked about why they didn't follow the Sun - "It's just not the same when they are older".


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PostPosted: 05/23/17 10:27 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

In terms of access to game viewing, the WNBA has the best deal in sports streaming that I'm aware of- nearly every game for $15. They are also archived for convenient viewing.



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PostPosted: 05/25/17 6:32 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I must be an exception to the norm. I grew up in SoCal in the 60's and 70s as a huge LA sports fan: Lakers, Dodgers, Rams, and then I moved to the Midsouth in the early 80's for grad school. I've always kept my love for the Dodgers, but over the years my affinity for other teams grew.

As an Ole Miss grad student I HATED Lady Vols b/c the Lady Rebs could never beat UT, even in those great years of Van Chancellor, Jen Gillom, Eugenia Conner, etc. The only team that was able to beat the Lady Vols was UConn; first with Lobo, Jen, Kara, Kool Keesh -- so in '95 UConn became "my team". And I've stayed a huge UConn fan ever since. I even bought season tickets for Boston College when I lived in Memphis so I could get to see UConn in person (at BC) in 2004 b/c UConn tickets were impossible to get. (Yeah, the Taurasi years.)

I have followed all the UConn players into the WNBA over the years. Dee was my fave for years, with Sue B a close second....so Phoenix and Seattle were faves. And this in spite of the fact that I was a Sacramento Monarchs season ticket holder for 3 years while living in SF. (Ok -- I did love Ruthie, Yo, and Ticha -- and they were in their prime before Dee and Sue got to the WNBA.)

I now live in Orange County, CA and go to Sparks games when I want to see the Lynx or Seattle, with Maya or Stewie or KML. Never did like the Sparks since they were the Monarchs nemesis, and per noted by poster above, Lisa just didn't work for me.

I guess point of all this is that I am a women's sports fan and follow players from college to WNBA when the players make it. I am a sports fan -- and while women's sports is what I love most, I also watch NFL and occasionally, NBA.

I cannot "justify" my likes and dislikes -- I just know that there are some players I've watched for years in college and pros, and now that many are retired and moved into coaching or front office roles (Swin, Kelly Schumacher, Wilnett Crockett, Jen Rizzoti, among others) I am eager to see how the new generation of UConn players will bring it to the pros.

And I will keep watching. WNBA League Pass with ChromeCast streaming allows me to see ALL the players I like, for the most affordable ticket I know of!


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PostPosted: 05/25/17 11:14 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

norwester wrote:
4. There's a curious societal pressure regarding professional basketball that it's tough for me to articulate. There's this idea from men (particularly white men, since I think there was a demographic study of fandom that pointed to black men being more supportive of the WNBA) that they can match or surpass what they're seeing on the WNBA court (even if they're wrong), so it's not worth their time? I'm not saying this is necessarily conscious, or even germane to the conversation of college vs WNBA fandom, but it's hard not to mention it. And it's not just men, but the article I read focused on men. I'll try to find the reference.

Ya. This!

I experienced something surprising (to me) in San Antonio in '14. My first visit there, to stay with my husband's niece and her wife. I begged to go see a game in our limited time there. Niece (who even played hoops) obliged very begrudgingly....yet, she was rabid in following the Spurs to their championship during that same time. She and her friends just didn't give a rat's ass about SAS. Defies logic, imo. Oh well.... Razz



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PostPosted: 06/29/17 12:32 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I don't follow the NBA, much less the WNBA. The fact that the league has lost this much money for this long of a period of time and is still afloat is really amazing.


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PostPosted: 06/29/17 12:56 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I would be curious how much the men's college audience overlaps with the NBA. In my small circle, most that are fans follow one or the other, but no really both.


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PostPosted: 06/29/17 1:13 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

PUmatty wrote:
I would be curious how much the men's college audience overlaps with the NBA. In my small circle, most that are fans follow one or the other, but no really both.


I know a lot of people who follow both, but I don't see much of continuing to follow favorite college players like there is on the women's side. And when there is a college link at all, it's more of a curiosity that usually fades after only a year or two. People I know either have a favorite pro team, or a couple of favorite pro star players (like KD or Labron) who they follow and root for. Maybe in part it's because most of the best players only attended college for one year at most.

I have to admit that when I watch an NBA game, it seems like I barely know where half the US players even went to college. And I watch a lot of MCBB.

The NBA certainly does not rely for its audience on people "following" players from their favorite colleges. It stands on its own.


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