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ClayK



Joined: 11 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: 09/27/17 9:23 am    ::: Work with what you have ... Reply Reply with quote

I was interviewing a high school coach who has a very good team (defending state champ in a smaller division) but no size, and he says he tells his players "Work with what you have, not with what you want ..."

We have gone back and forth here about girls not being the same level of sports fans as boys, and why that is. Is it in the DNA, is it in the culture, etc. ...

But it's like arguing over whether The Iliad was written by Homer or another guy by the same name. Whatever the root, the effect is clear. (For further proof, if any is needed, we had an open gym at Miramonte High School last night, and our team is very good. Most girls play club and were in Oregon last weekend for a viewing period tournament. So I asked 13 of them if they knew the WNBA finals were going on -- one of them knew, the only girl who's committed to a D1 school.)

So given the reality of the marketplace, should the WNBA focus more on the sports fans who already exist -- mostly male, trending young -- or try, as some have suggested here, to break into segments of the population that aren't traditionally sports fans?

One girl last night said to me "I know when the boys are playing because it's everywhere (referring to the NBA), but no one talks about the girls so I didn't even know."



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shontay33



Joined: 01 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: 09/27/17 12:30 pm    ::: Re: Work with what you have ... Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:
I was interviewing a high school coach who has a very good team (defending state champ in a smaller division) but no size, and he says he tells his players "Work with what you have, not with what you want ..."

We have gone back and forth here about girls not being the same level of sports fans as boys, and why that is. Is it in the DNA, is it in the culture, etc. ...

But it's like arguing over whether The Iliad was written by Homer or another guy by the same name. Whatever the root, the effect is clear. (For further proof, if any is needed, we had an open gym at Miramonte High School last night, and our team is very good. Most girls play club and were in Oregon last weekend for a viewing period tournament. So I asked 13 of them if they knew the WNBA finals were going on -- one of them knew, the only girl who's committed to a D1 school.)

So given the reality of the marketplace, should the WNBA focus more on the sports fans who already exist -- mostly male, trending young -- or try, as some have suggested here, to break into segments of the population that aren't traditionally sports fans?

One girl last night said to me "I know when the boys are playing because it's everywhere (referring to the NBA), but no one talks about the girls so I didn't even know."


In my opinion you have to be a purist to love women's basketball(purist is someone who enjoys fundamentals and won't think that it is boring ) The problem is that the casual fan is not a purist. They are all about action and high flying which is why you see only clips of dunking and fancy ball handling played in the mainstream media. Most casual fans, don't tune in to watch until it is a major sporting event (i.e. world series,NBA finals, super bowl,ect) I think it is tough for a "minor " league like the WNBA to attract casual fans. They have tried for years and years to do this and it has worked to some degree. Because of this I say, lets focus on getting the younger generation to watch. That is where the future is for the WNBA.


justintyme



Joined: 08 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: 09/27/17 1:38 pm    ::: Re: Work with what you have ... Reply Reply with quote

shontay33 wrote:
Because of this I say, lets focus on getting the younger generation to watch. That is where the future is for the WNBA.


I agree 100%. That is where the focus of the league needs to be more than anywhere else. Make sure these young potential fans know when and where the games are going to be shown, and try to build excitement amongst them.

I stated in the other thread that the league's main focus should be in changing the definition of "exciting sports" for future generations. They should not worry about overnight success, and instead make every decision be about what it can do in the long run. How to get the media companies to cover it more, how to keep its presence known (and expand upon it) within the younger generations. For the most part, the 'traditional sports fan" that is going to be interested in the WNBA either already is, or will naturally become so with increased coverage/presence (in other words, it is unlikely to draw fans that do not have a local team, unless they are already hard core women's basketball fans).

In the short run, take advantage of every potential owner/network/media member who wants, or is willing, to treat the league as a passion project. There are a lot of very wealthy people that can probably be convinced that the league is an essential social program that needs to survive at all costs. Find all the Glen Taylors and Magic Johnsons that they can.



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tfan



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PostPosted: 09/27/17 2:45 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

If the WNBA "works with what they have", I think that means they will market to 40+ people, families with girls, lesbians, and African Americans.


Silky Johnson



Joined: 29 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: 09/27/17 3:14 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

tfan wrote:
If the WNBA "works with what they have", I think that means they will market to 40+ people, families with girls, lesbians, and African Americans.


I'm curious; tone does not convey well over the internet, but it appears as though you are saying that that would be a problem... Are you saying that that would be a problem?



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tfan



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PostPosted: 09/27/17 3:32 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Silky Johnson wrote:
tfan wrote:
If the WNBA "works with what they have", I think that means they will market to 40+ people, families with girls, lesbians, and African Americans.


I'm curious; tone does not convey well over the internet, but it appears as though you are saying that that would be a problem... Are you saying that that would be a problem?


I don't see it as a problem. I was pointing out that "working with what you have" will not include " mostly male, trending young " sports fans - if you go with "what you have" as what the WNBA has, not "what the male sports have", which would really be "work with what they have".


ClayK



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PostPosted: 09/27/17 4:04 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

One of the challenges facing the league is that its attendance footprint is small, but its overall success is measured in nationwide ratings.

My impression is that coverage and awareness of the league is good in those cities that have franchises -- were there a team in San Francisco, for example, more Miramonte girls would have known about the WNBA finals.

In cities with franchises, the marketing needs to be aimed, it seems to me, at potential game attendees, which, as pointed out, are lesbians, families with daughters, etc.

But for ESPN and national sponsors, the marketing needs to be aimed at those who might sit down and watch a game on TV, which is entirely different.

From day one, I've said that more gambling on the WNBA means more attention, and though it is not politically correct, I would push hard to get more action on WNBA games. Nothing spurs interest like having some skin in the game ...

I did notice, though I confess I fast-forwarded through it, that the ESPN intro to game two was heavy on basketball strategy, as opposed to features on the players having puppies and doing clinics. That seems aimed at the guy sitting at home with a beer after work who doesn't want to watch baseball, which is a big part of the national TV market.

But this is what the WNBA has, and though getting more females to become sports fans may be what the league wants, it just doesn't seem likely that hundreds, if not thousands, of years of habit will change any time soon.



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tfan



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PostPosted: 09/27/17 4:22 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

In 2013 ESPN did report a majority male viewership but unfortunately, they left out the ages:

Quote:
Unsurprisingly, ESPN says the majority of the WNBA’s audience continues to be made up of men, as it has for years, not women: 66 percent of ESPN’s WNBA audience is male, and nearly half is African-American.


So it is a good point that the audience is different between ESPN and in-person.




Last edited by tfan on 09/27/17 4:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
WNBA 09



Joined: 26 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: 09/27/17 4:24 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

tfan wrote:
In 2013 ESPN did report a majority male viewership but they left out the ages:

Quote:
Unsurprisingly, ESPN says the majority of the WNBA’s audience continues to be made up of men, as it has for years, not women: 66 percent of ESPN’s WNBA audience is male, and nearly half is African-American.


Here !!



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Richyyy



Joined: 17 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: 09/27/17 11:04 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:
From day one, I've said that more gambling on the WNBA means more attention, and though it is not politically correct, I would push hard to get more action on WNBA games. Nothing spurs interest like having some skin in the game ...

We did finally see a bit more of a buy-in towards the 'acceptable' variant of that this year with the daily fantasy link-ups. I certainly noticed that most of the new people following me on Twitter were related to daily fantasy sports in some way.

On the wider topic, it's always been a problem for this league - their core fanbase groups are not the typical sportsfan groups. So who do you market to? Because you know certain groups might be interested and are more likely to respond to publicity, but the league is never going to grow into a mainstream success without the white male Sportscenter-watching demographic who keep all the major US sports afloat. So do you largely give up on those mainstream sportsfans and focus on your existing core? Or do you assume those groups will always be there anyway, so you can chase the mainstream dream? Outside of the often awkward relationship with their lesbian fans, it's always felt to me like they were trying to do all these things at the same time. Which sometimes means you're successful at none of them.



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josephkramer44



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PostPosted: 10/02/17 7:04 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

It couldn't hurt to try and attract new segments of the population. I think they could try some new tactics that would appeal to different people than their core fans and still not alienate their core population. It simply has to be better than what I have seen and heard of so far. When I was younger I refused free tickets from the local WNBA team in part because I found the person in charge of the promotion (it was team linked) a bit abrasive and she gave me an attitude when I politely declined them. I know of other WNBA marketing attempts that have ended up offending people (men in most cases) and cementing their disregard for the WNBA.

A few years ago the NBA was having a real hard time (after the Jordan era) and its appeal was diminishing rapidly (my sleep was disturbed years ago by an NBA player getting into a shootout about 75 feet away from where I was sleeping) with automatic weapons in the middle of downtown of a huge city. Incidents like that and the Detroit/Indiana fight fiasco really hurt. But no one remembers those days now and Cav/Warriors tickets I bet are more expensive than Football tickets now! So nothing is irreversible. But the WNBA has to try new things because as a business the status quo is not acceptable and harsh new realities are coming for the independent teams as media platforms change.


ClayK



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PostPosted: 10/03/17 9:10 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Good point ... so what group(s) should they target? And how should they market to those groups?

My sense is that most potential fans are aware of the product and have seen games already -- though of course, there are two separate groups: in-arena fans in the WNBA cities, past and present, and the TV fans.

So which groups would you market to in the 12 cities?

And which groups would you market to who are potential TV viewers?

And of course, how would you connect with them in ways they have not been connected with before?



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josephkramer44



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PostPosted: 10/03/17 5:27 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:
Good point ... so what group(s) should they target? And how should they market to those groups?

My sense is that most potential fans are aware of the product and have seen games already -- though of course, there are two separate groups: in-arena fans in the WNBA cities, past and present, and the TV fans.

So which groups would you market to in the 12 cities?

And which groups would you market to who are potential TV viewers?

And of course, how would you connect with them in ways they have not been connected with before?



When you have a very loyal (but small) base you can get creative and experiment without alienating your core audience, which is never a good business plan. With the TV money almost certain to decline (pending the continued implosion at ESPN) it couldn't hurt to try and improve gate revenue. Stuff like Twitter and the League pass are pennies.

First off the NBA connected teams need to distance themselves as much as possible from the NBA. It is having a very negative impact. Next the cause aspect should probably be toned down. Most people do not attend a sporting event to hear a political or social message. Not to mention in today's US if you are going to delve into politics you are probably going to piss off half of your potential audience immediately (be it right or left leaning ) no matter what you say. Something like a singles night could work well. Have a mixer beforehand. Most of the arenas have enough facilities available to at least give it a try. Try different things in different regions that appeal to local flavor. Because lets face it Atlanta is a whole different world than NYC or Phoenix or Dallas.


patsweetpat



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PostPosted: 10/03/17 10:07 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

tfan wrote:
If the WNBA "works with what they have", I think that means they will market to 40+ people, families with girls, lesbians, and African Americans.


This definitely sounds very, very much like the demographic groups I see attending Sparks games.


Happycappie25



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PostPosted: 10/04/17 6:18 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

patsweetpat wrote:
tfan wrote:
If the WNBA "works with what they have", I think that means they will market to 40+ people, families with girls, lesbians, and African Americans.


This definitely sounds very, very much like the demographic groups I see attending Sparks games.


I would especially in the West add Native Americans to that list. at least for the few merc games I went to in the early days I'd say they were a backbone

Coming from the weird corner of the universe (White, Under 40 for at least a few more years, and down since 2000 when I was way under 40 and single, Straight married male, no kids) I agree the demos are about right. I will also say one thing about young men...you turn this to young AA men and I'd say the league IS seeing growth in this demo and quite a bit of it.

With the Libs It's like this pretty much: The 40+ (and really if it's the demo I'm thinking of I'd more say 50+) demo and the LGBT (That's not being PC, there is a good pocket of gay men in our base) who are coming back after over a decade of mistreatment both by the league and by Blaze make up your STH...and we have a larger than normal STH base. They seem to be the hardcores and die hards and have formed a very close community...it's not quite cheers but I know a good majority of STH names or can at least pick them out of a lineup.

Here's where it gets interesting and I wonder if other Lib fans or fans of other clubs see this as well:

There are 2 clear cut demos that prefer different days.

Fridays: Young, I'd say 17-24, AA men and women...I'd say 50-50. Most of them HS or College ballers or played HS and keep in the game through streetball etc. The atmosphere is almost like a HS football game...very loud but very educated...yes some of this is giveaways and group sales (Lots of teams there but they still pay something and have to under NCAA rules) many AAU college and HS coaches as well...and 2 years ago...KB made this the focal point and it was a ZOO...really strong and LOUD and know their ball this year they really didn't shell out and guess what 8s and low 9s many of those inflated one veering toward Mystics territory (what the libs normally call an 8.5 called a 10...no, Bad Libs, we pride ourselves on honest reporting)

Sundays: Families, and they do the promos this day...hire the clowns and DJs on the concourse (although they have an area to put this so it doesn't block traffic mostly) quieter, lots of kids, but I'd also say more suburban a demo...a lot of traffic on the trains from NJ LI and Westchester. But this year Clarke made this the focal point and she was 9s and 10s across the board here.

The moral...you got about 2.5-4k loyals from the older and LGBT demo...and a groundswell of LGBT to be stragglers in the upper deck on Pride Night...

Young AA Ballers on Fridays But they need to be SOLD

Families on Sundays but they too need to be SOLD

NO ONE comes to Midweeks and that was our first tour ON ESPN of LA and Minny...crickets

camp days are camp days

Winning at least for the libs I'd say only makes a difference of +- 700...the early season attendance sucked (Midweeks did NOT help) and the strongest crowds IMHO were actually around the time of the Lineup switch...during the streak the Crowds held firm...tho for a Sunday...the Playoff game was more of a Friday crowd...because playoffs are for hardcore

Dunno if anyone else saw this in their arena, but in Libland honestly the difference to me is STARK between Friday and sunday (80% of Lib home games were Friday/sunday)



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