Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Location: Ithaca, NY
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|Posted: 08/25/21 9:01 pm ::: Completely agree - BAD to combine women and men's FF
|Here's an email I wrote to Mechelle Voepel when she wrote an article on this topic:
Many of us – typically we have had a travel group from across the country ranging from 5 to 12…have enjoyed “collecting new friends” as we stand in the autograph lines, talk with others in the stands, have an annual fan lunch. We knew that the tournaments were not “equal” but the women’s tournament was special, and felt different – not the huge, corporate, generic event. Maybe we are just "old school" and notice the changes and differences - not just in costs, but what is provided to fans as activities, swag (seat cushions no longer for fans), logos just generic - meaning you can't tell one city/year from the next except for the color or trying to see the year...but the past 5 years have been very disappointing. Not sure it's the town's host committee, the NCAA expectations not being communicated to the host committee, or corporation's new requirements...but we've heard flimsy excuses from the representatives we've spoken with. For example, "switching from Sunday-Tuesday to Friday-Sunday means that fans can't get to an open practice on Friday" or "local community members won't come to activities Friday during the day." We KNOW that is not true, we've experienced it, lived it...you plan and promote it and they will come.
Please oh PLEASE do NOT encourage a joint men's and women's tournament in the same city!! This would only promote the women being treated as even MORE of a second citizen...not on purpose by the host city - but by every men's fan, business establishment, hotels and restaurants (meaning higher prices!), local resident, and even the media. At least now the women's host city has the CHOICE to make a huge deal of the opportunity to host. You know that the long-time and current women's fans would be subjected to higher ticket prices, higher hotel and rental car rates, harder to find flights, hotels and rentals because of huge influx of fans...and even worse seats (what's it like to watch a women's game within a huge stadium without the blackout draping used in San Antonio in 2022?) than ever inside the arena - the corporations and wealthy who pay to be near the floor for the men's game would buy up both, and not necessarily attend both.
I DO want the women athletes and coaches to have EQUITABLE experiences, and be honored as equally as talented and having worked as hard to achieve the final four - but we know the women will be swallowed up by the men's hoop-la...
Having separate cities and tournaments allow the FOCUS to be on each event in the way that they deserve, and the way that their fan base prefers. I have not heard ANYONE speaking up about this, only assuming that both groups want and dream about the same things. I dream that the women's final four teams and fans will once again get the treatment and experience they desire:
top rate team hotels
media focused on their program and stories
promotions and advertising based on the teams and regional highlights of that city
events to highlight and honor the athletes that fans can easily participate in
a logo that is based on that city's personality or history and not a bland corporate block-ish image that simply changes the city and year - why buy tshirts and hats (for those of us who attend every year - more likely with women's tourney than men's?) when they all look the same?
Thank you for listening,