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Improving WNBA’s Viewership

Dee W.

On January 25 th my original article on the WNBA wage gap was uploaded to the

website. If you haven’t checked it out, I recommend you do so because it is a great

read. The main focal point of the post was that WNBA players were making less

than half of what most NBA players was making and they both do the same sport.

There I described that the women players didn’t make as much because their

product isn’t viewed enough. From there I had some people ask me “what would

you do to get more viewers for the WNBA?” As I started giving different reasons

to different people, I decided to do a follow up to the original blog.

I feel like there are plenty of reasons why the league isn’t being viewed and for

some I fixes for some them. Frist, the WNBA players play their games during the

summertime going into fall. When they first made that schedule, it sounded like an

excellent idea. No competition between the NFL, NBA, College football, or

College Basketball. Most people believe the summertime is a down period for

sports in general. I can’t fault them for that reasoning but for some reason or

another it just isn’t working. I feel burned out at the end of the regular season of

the NBA and want a break from basketball in general so adding another season of

it afterwards feels like too much basketball. My fix to it is to move the WNBA’s

season to concede with the NBA’s. On heavy basketball days the NBA will run

four games throughout the day with a back-to-back headliner a couple day of the

week. I say whenever there are multiple games throughout the day put a women’s

game in between. That way you get the crowd from the last game coming in and

waiting for the next one to start. People aren’t going to just turn away if they are

already comfortable at a bar or with others watching some basketball. The same for

single NBA games I would put a WNBA before that for the people to have

something to watch before the big game. I believe at least that should raise new

viewer numbers to record levels for that season. But we got to do something

different for the brand to retain those new viewers. I would add former NBA guys

people know to the overall presentation. Retired guys like Reggie Miller, Chris

Webber, Mark Jackson, Dennis Scott, and many others already commentate during

the men’s games so I would keep them for their corresponding WNBA team.

If you don’t want to keep them there are plenty of other retired guys waiting for their

chance so this could be a good opportunity. Even during the games having more

retired NBA guys coaching will keep more eyes on the product such as Magic

Johnson and Derek Fisher. Getting big names as a constant presence on the show

will keep people engaged to the product because of familiarity. If a Pacers fan

hears Reggie Miller calling the game, he would stick around because that’s one of

his favorite players. During the halftime shows I would do the same with a mix of

retried WNBA and NBA players. Inside the NBA halftime show has actually done

this more throughout the past couple of years. They would give Ernie Johnson,

Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley a week or two off and replace them with others.

Before it was all men, but I started noticing they always have a WNBA player on

there now. I personally felt more interested in watching a WNBA game after

hearing people such as Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie give their insights on

games. Also seeing all-time greats like Shaquille O’Neal and Isiah Thomas respect

their opinions adds a little flair to it as well. For the first few seasons it wouldn’t

have to be the same cast every time; I would mix and match till I found a group

people love.

The WNBA’s season is incredibly short and would be done with the

regular season and playoffs before the NBA even got to the playoffs. So, there is

no competition between them during their playoffs. With the WNBA season

ending before the men’s playoffs, I would find ways to integrate the current

players onto pregame, halftime, and end of game shows to get more exposure. It is

small stuff like this that makes people start to identify both products together. Are

these the only fixes the league needs to be successful? No, there are plenty more

and If feedback is received, I will make a part two.

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