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WNBA Has More Fans In 21st Season Than NBA Had In 21stSeason
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NYL_WNBA_FAN



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PostPosted: 09/15/17 8:28 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Silky Johnson wrote:
NYL_WNBA_FAN wrote:
To me, it's very telling that the Libs get about 9,000 fans per game where on a given Tuesday or Thursday night at Baruch College I could go to watch a men's streetball summer league game and there could be 3,000 people there or more...


In fairness, there's, like, ten million people in New York City... There's enough to go around. If we wanted to suppose that the percentage of people that are WNBA fans in NYC is more or less constant nationwide, well... that leads to the attendance in cities like Atlanta being, more or less, right where it mathematically should be? Seems like an argument for playing in smaller venues.

The real surprise is the attendance in markets like Minnesota: I guess we'll have to see how it holds up, after the dynasty's over.


I know. I just meant that a very clearly inferior brand of basketball, in my opinion, is getting one-third the attendance of a WNBA game.



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tfan



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PostPosted: 09/15/17 8:33 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:
tfan wrote:
The WNBA could thrive with just female fans. I know they are given a pass with "women don't watch sports", but maybe that is something to change culturally if it's important to have successful women's sports leagues.


As I've mentioned, very few girls' high school basketball players are sports fans, in the sense, they watch games on TV. And of the 30 girls signed up to play basketball at Miramonte this year, including seven or more with dreams of playing in college, one, at most, watched a second of the WNBA playoffs.

As Yogi Berra once said, if they don't want to come, you can't stop them.


But the boy's coach at your school would have similar survey results - the boys didn't watch the WNBA finals. So wouldn't Yogi's saying apply to them as well? Seems that when it is called for the culture to change so that men want to watch women's sports, it also could be called for it to change such that women like to watch women's sports.


josephkramer44



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PostPosted: 09/15/17 9:44 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

justintyme wrote:
josephkramer44 wrote:
I have said this to numerous Americans and will say it again. "You almost certainly have no idea of what real oppression is." I have seen things done in parts of this world that would bring tears to even the most hardened person and they are done on an everyday basis in these places. Not just in the 3rd world either. I once watched half of a city come out to brutally beat and cripple its gay population with the blessings of the elected officials and police (who just stood by and laughed) while women and children cheered the perpetrators on. Thank god we don't have to worry about such things here in the US.


Again, this is called relative privation. Just because there are worse problems elsewhere doesn't mean that people cannot be concerned about the problems that affect them.

It would be like telling me that I should be happy with my 1972 Chevy Nova because many people have no car at all.

Now this doesn't mean we need to "fix" certain things, more that we just need to be cognizant of its existence (which a lot of the time is actually what can fix it as it brings it out into our conscious minds instead of letting ourselves be unconsciously interpellated by our cultural status quo).

Specific to the case of the WNBA is us being aware that our definitions of atheltics and thus our subjective tastes as to what makes them "exciting" is millenia in the making. We need to understand that this is not going to change overnight, but rather over decades and decades. And the way to "fix" this? To be a presence in the world and normalize a new definition, and then as the new generations come and the old ones pass the barriers will drop. In other words, survive in any way possible.

Quote:
The financial shortcomings of the league are also insanely relevant. As an independent owner where is my incentive to start a team? Even the most noble causes get old. I strongly doubt that the teams are in general making a profit, even with a bloated TV deal whose numbers are not based in reality (the 2nd in charge of the NBA went with the WNBA head to negotiate the deal in private). Not that they are releasing data anytime soon. The real danger (and we have said this before in other topics on this board) is if ESPN2 goes dark the League will lose its platform and it will be hard pressed to find another. I don't see Fox Sports stepping in to pay money to cover the games.

There were teams turning a profit before the ESPN deal. But this ties into my earlier point: the league should leverage every opportunity they get. Increasing its presence through social media is smart. They should use the deep pockets and power of the NBA to bully networks into TV deals. They should continue to focus on getting media coverage beyond what the ratings/clicks/numbers say selling the idea that it is The Right Thing to Do. That profits are not everything and social change does not come easily and those with a platform have a responsibility to do everything they can to make it happen. That is why the NBA got invloved and why they continue to do so. It is an investment in humanity as much as a it is a business investment. And Adam Silver gets it (as do people like Magic Johnson and Glen Taylor).

Now none of this means that the league shouldn't continue to strive to make themselves as sound as possible, nor should they give up on putting out the best product possible. But again, survival is paramount. Survival is a win. Every year that passes the league becomes less of a joke amongst sports fans, and at some point that normalization is going to see it shift into the mainstream. And the more media outlets they can get on board the quicker it will happen. I have seen the effect of this here in Minnesota. The Lynx are often mentioned in the same breath as the other sports teams and the effect on the populace has been significant. I am much more likely to hear positive comments about the team than hear an old "WNBA, hur hur hur" joke.


Being a Minnesotan myself (I don't live there anymore) I'm not sure how accurate that statement is. What tangible proof is there? I see no progress in making the WNBA profitable or more popular in the US. If the effect is that great in MN then why are the playoff games having lower announced attendance than regular season games? Its not because of venue changes. All of the venues being used are excellent facilities with large amounts of parking and easy access to public transportation in safe areas. The lower attendance is because there is less time to distribute free/discount tickets. However that is also speculation on my part, but I believe it is fairly accurate.

Are you comfortable with the NBA forcing tv partners to show the WNBA at an inflated rate? That's called charity (albeit the NBA can afford to be a bit charitable). It's not a tease either, trying to lure in new viewers, because it hasn't worked for many years. Its also a tacit admission of the WNBA's shortcomings. I can also assure you the majority of people watching a sporting event are not interested in it becoming a cause. There are a lot more important and noble causes than sporting events. Continuing to push that perspective will only alienate potential fans and subject the league to further ridicule.
I don't denigrate anyone's athletic achievements. Garbage like what Mr. Arenas posted should be confronted and he should be told to get stuffed. But if you are going to continue to sell the WNBA as a great cause the majority of people are going to politely decline and donate their time and money to polar bears and saving rhinos, freeing Tibet and stopping Icelandic whaling fleets. Once again when (and I firmly believe it is a when not if) ESPN2 goes off the air the league will have to adjust to a new and more difficult reality.


Silky Johnson



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PostPosted: 09/15/17 10:44 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

NYL_WNBA_FAN wrote:
Silky Johnson wrote:
NYL_WNBA_FAN wrote:
To me, it's very telling that the Libs get about 9,000 fans per game where on a given Tuesday or Thursday night at Baruch College I could go to watch a men's streetball summer league game and there could be 3,000 people there or more...


In fairness, there's, like, ten million people in New York City... There's enough to go around. If we wanted to suppose that the percentage of people that are WNBA fans in NYC is more or less constant nationwide, well... that leads to the attendance in cities like Atlanta being, more or less, right where it mathematically should be? Seems like an argument for playing in smaller venues.

The real surprise is the attendance in markets like Minnesota: I guess we'll have to see how it holds up, after the dynasty's over.


I know. I just meant that a very clearly inferior brand of basketball, in my opinion, is getting one-third the attendance of a WNBA game.


That is, indeed, flummoxing.



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ClayK



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PostPosted: 09/16/17 10:18 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

As justintyme says, survival is a win.

The fact that about 4,500 people will pay cold hard cash to watch women play basketball on summer nights is, in many ways, pretty impressive.

The league has found its niche, it appears, and it is what it is. It's possible to move up (look at the NBA in the past two decades) and it's possible to move down (football right now) so constant effort is required.

If you're looking for a sign that the WNBA has taken a leap forward, though, look for a franchise to sell for actual dollars. The fact that WNBA franchises are essentially worth nothing is what is holding the league back -- which is another reason I'm against expansion. Let's have prospective owners fight over existing franchises so the ownership in Atlanta, say, can sell the Dream for $5 million (or whatever).



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Bob Lamm



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PostPosted: 09/16/17 10:38 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:
As justintyme says, survival is a win.

The fact that about 4,500 people will pay cold hard cash to watch women play basketball on summer nights is, in many ways, pretty impressive.

The league has found its niche, it appears, and it is what it is. It's possible to move up (look at the NBA in the past two decades) and it's possible to move down (football right now) so constant effort is required.

If you're looking for a sign that the WNBA has taken a leap forward, though, look for a franchise to sell for actual dollars. The fact that WNBA franchises are essentially worth nothing is what is holding the league back -- which is another reason I'm against expansion. Let's have prospective owners fight over existing franchises so the ownership in Atlanta, say, can sell the Dream for $5 million (or whatever).


I agree with all this. We all want much more for the WNBA and for women's basketball in general. I wish the WNBA were strong enough that it didn't need the NBA in any way. But survival is a win.

I'm old enough to have this perspective on survival. I began teaching at Queens College in 1974. That's where I first saw and fell in love with women's basketball. Under their pioneering coach, Lucille Kyvallos, Queens had one of the best programs in the country. In 1975, I attended the first-ever women's basketball game at Madison Square Garden, as Queens hosted national champion Immaculata. I saw great players like Gail Marquis (who was on the first U.S. Olympic women's basketball team), Donna Geils, and Althea Gwyn. Then I got to see Geils and Gwyn play for the New York Stars of the Women's Basketball League. (Geils is now known as Donna Orender.)

The Women's Basketball League died after a short tenure, not the only women's basketball league that had that fate. Survival is a win. I hope for much better, but tomorrow we can all watch WNBA semifinals on national TV and some of us can be there in person. The glass isn't full, but I'd say it's at least half full.



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PostPosted: 09/16/17 12:59 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

NYL_WNBA_FAN wrote:
Silky Johnson wrote:
NYL_WNBA_FAN wrote:
To me, it's very telling that the Libs get about 9,000 fans per game where on a given Tuesday or Thursday night at Baruch College I could go to watch a men's streetball summer league game and there could be 3,000 people there or more...


In fairness, there's, like, ten million people in New York City... There's enough to go around. If we wanted to suppose that the percentage of people that are WNBA fans in NYC is more or less constant nationwide, well... that leads to the attendance in cities like Atlanta being, more or less, right where it mathematically should be? Seems like an argument for playing in smaller venues.

The real surprise is the attendance in markets like Minnesota: I guess we'll have to see how it holds up, after the dynasty's over.


I know. I just meant that a very clearly inferior brand of basketball, in my opinion, is getting one-third the attendance of a WNBA game.


9000 vs 3000 fans? That's not too surprising.

The heyday of street basketball appears to be long gone. The street bball that spawned the likes of legendary playground players like Dick McGwire (the original point guard), Bob Cousy, 'Jumping' Jackie Jackson, Lew Alcindor aka Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Earl 'the Goat' Manigault, Connie Hawkins, Pee Wee Kirkland, Julius 'Dr. J' Erving, Joe 'the Destroyer' Hammond, LA's Raymond Lewis, Herman 'Helicopter' Knowings, James 'Speedy' Williams, etc. has gradually trickled way, way down in sheer overall talent. Guys and gals (like Philadelphia street baller, Gail Doughty) who played everyday year-round and honed their skills to perfection for the sheer love of the game produced basketball skills that were, at the highest levels, reportedly superior to that seen in the NBA, even today!

What happened? In a nutshell, as the game became more popular and more profitable as a business, a few of these street ball players made the transition from the playgrounds to the collegiate and professional ranks, spawning a ton of mega-hype for street ball as a legitimate source of super basketball talent. This, in turn, caused scores of talent hunters, scouts, sports reporters, & TV cameras to begin heading into the inner city parks looking for the next Earl 'Black Jesus' Monroe, the next Connie Hawkins, the next Lew Alcindor. The real street bball artists took years to refined their craft on a daily basis to produce world class skills. The latter street ballers achieve "fame" much more quickly by displaying a repertoire of slick moves even though they tend to lack a true, complete overall game.

Unfortunately, some of these myopic talent hunters could not tell the difference between players with superior skill sets based on sound fundamentals from those who had acquired a few assorted tricks, which had dubious value in real game play. Some of these pretenders (like Booger Smith, the star of the sports documentary, Soul in the Hole), although capable of showcasing stupendous, flashy moves, literally cannot score to save their lives!

Still, the strength of the women's game over the men's game at the highest levels has always been the great team play. This observation came from no less than the legendary John Wooden. Top male players can be extremely entertaining with their individual-centric game within the games, but as the talent level winds down, the styling & profiling game play tends to get very tedious to view. In its marketing, the WNBA teasingly flirts at times with emphasizing individual over team play, much like the NBA loves to do. It is interesting that former ABL/WNBA player, Dawn Staley, offered a cautionary warning against this nearly twenty years ago with the then rising attention in women's basketball following the USA's 1996 Olympic women's gold medal performance and the subsequent formation of the ABL and WNBA leagues:

"Here is the biggest problem with today's women's game. we are getting too much hype. The game used to be about the team working as one. That's why the people started watching us. They found it refreshing compared to all the individual play in the NBA. We weren't superstars, just good ballplayers working together, playing the game as it was meant to be played. Now, with all the publicity, some girls are coming into the league and changing that. Some of these girls think they are Michael Jordan and want to get famous. Both leagues are going to suffer because of it."

Note: Of course, things have gotten as bad as Dawn initially feared as of yet. However, as more and more ladies start getting increased marketing spotlights, the league may want to be careful to avoid any sliding towards individualism.



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PostPosted: 09/16/17 4:23 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Comparing the WNBA to the NBA is a false and useless comparision. The WNBA will never have the audience of the NBA.

The WNBA, when compared to other professional women's teams, however, can be considered pretty darn successful. It certainly has far outlasted any previous professional WBB league. And I really can't think of any professional team in any other women's sport today, at least in the USA, that gets anything close to the WNBA in audience, or even exists.

While marketing can always be worked on, do any significant number of fans go to a professional sports game because of the commercials about them on TV or social media? I don't really know, but it seems highly unlikely to me. They go or not go, and go or not go a second or tenth time, because of their interest in the entertainment product on the court. That product is not going to change much, overall, although the better and more-exciting-to-watch players will shift from team to team over time.

In the early days of the NBA you went to games, not because of TV or radio commercials (which were all beer), but to see Cousy, Russell and the Jones boys in Boston, Elgin in Minneapolis, the Big O in Cincinnati, Wilt and Guy Rodgers in Philadelphia, maybe Dolph Schayes in Syracuse . . . and in New York . . . well, no one went much to Knick games because they stank for almost 20 years. Anyone remember Carl Braun or Harry Gallatin? I didn't think so. The beer product in the commercials couldn't save the flat product on the floor.

A related factor that is being ignored, or wrongly interpreted, is race. The presence of non-white players for the first 21 years of the NBA and WNBA are dramatically different experiences.

My point on this subject of race is, again, simply to compare the beginnings of WNBA and NBA historically.

I said earlier, in riposte to Clay, that I did not think racism hurt the NBA. What I meant was a little complicated. Racism did hurt in the very beginning because black players were not welcomed into the league until 1950, and then only slowly for a number of years. But once the racial barrier was broken, and as black players were brought into the NBA in increasing numbers, it is my distinct recollection that attendance and interest in the NBA increased dramatically in direct proportion, simply because so many of the black players were the most exciting players. I named a few two paragraphs above.

By 1980, white players had decreased to about 17% of the NBA, and it's pretty much stayed that way. Meanwhile, attendance has boomed.

Why? Because basketball fans, in my lifetime experience, are excited to watch highly athletic black players. Sports fans are not "racist" in their sports entertainment preferences.

Unlike the first 20 years of the NBA, the WNBA has never had any large ethnic population, such as blacks, excluded from the league. The best black players have been in the WNBA since the very beginning. Therefore, unlike the NBA, the WNBA has never had and does not now have the potential for a big attendance increase when some excluded ethnic population finally arrives.

The same can be said for highly skilled white European players. The NBA had virtually none for almost 50 years, not until the early 90's. I believe these foreign players increased NBA fan interest when that dam burst. The WNBA has had European, Australian and other foreign players since its inception. Therefore, WNBA has never had the potential for an additional fan attendance boost attributable to an influx of foreign players, as the NBA did.

The NBA and WNBA have had very different histories in very different times. As I and others have said, they are almost different sports. The attendance will never be comparable.
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PostPosted: 09/16/17 5:54 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Just one note here: The NBA is routinely dissed on this board as being a one-on-one, isolation league, but the Golden State Warriors are far from that, and so is one of the other elite teams, the San Antonio Spurs.

Carmelo Anthony, the classic iso player who dribbles around for 10 seconds and fires up (and often makes) a contested midrange jumper is considered a dinosaur and has limited value (in part due to his age).

There are teams built around one-on-one players (OKC and Russell Westbrook) but James Harden became more of a team player this year, and Houston improved dramatically.

Holding on to old and outdated cliches about the men's game is the same as doing so for the women's game. The best teams in the NBA pass the ball, are fundamentally sound and defend with intensity.



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Luuuc



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PostPosted: 09/16/17 6:26 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I'm one of those who thinks the comparison in the original post is virtually meaningless, but I also have to say - if only 2 out of 30 teams are going against the stereotype, then it's still a pretty accurate stereotype!



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PostPosted: 09/16/17 6:28 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Spurs don't play the same beautiful basketball they did a few years ago. IIRC they're one of the most ISO-reliant teams currently.


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PostPosted: 09/17/17 8:50 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Luuuc wrote:
I'm one of those who thinks the comparison in the original post is virtually meaningless, but I also have to say - if only 2 out of 30 teams are going against the stereotype, then it's still a pretty accurate stereotype!


I only mentioned two ...

The NBA is essentially a pick-and-roll league with most of the action coming after the screen -- and that action is usually a pass to the roller, or a kick to the opposite side.

I don't see any more fluidity or team play in the WNBA than I do in the NBA. Both have teams that are capable of, and do play, the kind of basketball purists appreciate. Both leagues also have teams that jam the ball to one player and hope he or she can make something happen.

The one difference is that a higher percentage of NBA players have the ability to break down defenders one-on-one, but of course the defenders realize that and adjust.

Or, to put it another way: There are ugly games in the NBA, and ugly games in the WNBA, and very well-played ones in both. I don't think claiming the WNBA plays "better" basketball is going to convince anyone when watching San Antonio and Indiana is no better than watching the Knicks and the Nets.



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PostPosted: 09/17/17 12:55 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Team ball.

Yes, that's what historic "Jewish basketball" was all about, the kind of ball I grew up watching in NYC and the Ivy League even among weak teams.

The lack of team ball, at least in my perception, is one reason I got tired of the NBA in the 90's. I'm glad to hear that may have turned around.

I was immediately attracted to the better team ball played in WCBB, but that turned out to be mostly an illusion. What I really liked was the team Wooden commented on -- UConn. No one in WBB, at any level, really plays sophisticated Nat Holman, Red Holtzman, Bob Knight or Pete Carril team ball like Geno Auriemma.

Still, I find better team ball in some of the other top college coaches much more consistently than anything I've seen in the WNBA since 2000. I like the teamwork I've seen from the Lynx in several games this season, from Laimbeer's Shock in years past, and from one year of Cooper's Sparks and the Comets. I never saw the early year Comets.

Militating against practiced teamwork sophistication in the WNBA is the short season, the merry-go-round of players going in and out of foreign leagues, and the low quality of coaches.

The WNBA-apathy gripe I hear most from sophisticated fans of men's college and NBA ball is that the WNBA not only lacks the explosive athletes to make the individual WOW moves they like, but also lacks crisply executed and consistent teamwork to make up for this lack of individual player aerobatics. Their argument is that too many WNBA games end up being disjointed street ball, with hardly any exciting iso athletes and many players who often can't even make a layup. I think these gripes have validity from their perspective.
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PostPosted: 09/17/17 12:59 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
GlennMacGrady wrote:
Bob Lamm wrote:
I'll add this: of all the men I know who are sports fans, younger to older, there isn't one who is really a fan of women's sports of any kind.


I would rarely quibble with someone else's personal experience, but surely, Bob, you can't mean this.

What about all the men on this very board. Are they not "really fans" of "women's sports of any kind?"

What about all the men in the stands at high school, AAU, college and professional women's basketball games? What about the fathers of the Liberty players?

You really don't know "one" man who is a fan of women's tennis, figure skating, gymnastics, swimming, skiing, equestrian, UFC, volleyball, golf, track, field hockey, curling, softball, soccer, and dozens of other women's collegiate and Olympic sports? Really??

You are free to believe that sexism, misogyny, homophobia and racism negatively affect the WNBA's fortunes, but you're really not free (from challenge) to make up colossally global "facts" about male sports fans that are demonstrably false, and then credibly pass them off as your universal life experience. Not that I mind some rhetoric and hyperbole . . . now and then.

As to the NBA's attendance statistics from 1946 to 1967, I believe they are much more likely to be unavailable and incomplete than padded and misreprented.


I don't "know" any man on this board. In most cases, people use fake social media names, so I have no idea about their gender. Even when people seem to be using real first names that are probably male, I wouldn't say that I "know" any man on this board. I don't regard social media that way. I was referring to the men I know in my life off the computer. Not one is a fan of any women's sport. I said nothing, NOTHING, about men who aren't part of my life.

P.S. I don't know men in the stands at Madison Square Garden for Liberty games unless they are friends who've come with me. One male friend did. Once. He's not a fan of women's basketball. And I definitely do not know the fathers of any New York Liberty players, though I'd love to meet them.


Man here Laughing Dallas Wings STH #NiceTooMeetYou #ComeToArlington there's thousands of us lol



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PostPosted: 09/18/17 9:31 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I think one reason you see more structure in many college games is the lack of players who can create their own shot and/or are effective scorers in one-on-one situations.

Another factor is the lack of pick-and-roll play at the lower levels of the women's game (it's hard to teach), and when players get to college, it's not always productive to try to teach them the pick-and-roll then. Guys arrive in high school able to run the pick-and-roll after playing so much pickup and watching games on TV. Girls want to run the plays they've learned in practice.



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