First viewing weekend of the year

College coaches are at tournaments across the country this weekend for their first crack at the class of 2014 and beyond.

April also marks the late signing period for the class of 2013, and several athletes have made commitments this week. Look for more to come.

College coaching changes:

Mike Neighbors is the University of Washington’s new head coach. The Husky players seem to like the idea.

New Clemson coach Audra Smith has added two assistant coaches.

WNBA:

Draft all-access video.

Brittney Griner dunks (again).

Dance moves.

Fashion.

All draft videos.

ESPN finally weighs in on Griner coming out:

What does it mean to be an openly gay athlete?

Griner discusses her sexuality.

Her message is inspiring.

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1 COMMENT

  1. It will be interesting to see how Richie's "Reimagining" of the WNBA works out. Richie / ESPN /ESPNW have launched a fairly extensive marketing push that germinated at last years ESPNW Women's Summit. The new twelve million dollar annual ESPN TV contract and the ESPN draft coverage and "Three to See" campaign certainly support the league. So the W appears to be receiving the media coverage they've been claiming they've always deserved and will continue to receive it given ESPN's long term financial commitment.

    A few things are pretty clear strategically. To quote Richie "What we have learned through some good and in-depth research is the single unifying factor is that (WNBA Fans) love sports but on top of that they have very progressive views on the role of women in society".

    To quote ESPN President John Skipper, (the WNBA) "should be viewed on its own terms and it should have the terms of it's own success".

    So it appears that the W is making a conscious decision to go after a progressive fan base and not try to "convince" hard core basketball fans that their product is in any way comparable to the men's game. That's probably a good idea since it hasn't worked for the prior 17 years of the league's existence. The fact that such a big deal has been made about Griner's sexual tastes in all of the W media outlets supports that progressive refocusing and was clearly a part of their relaunch strategy as are their current "bullying" missives being pitched by ESPNW.

    It's an interesting approach. Anyone remotely familiar with the history of the W knows that the largest and most consistent segment of their fan bases have been lesbians. Dad's and daughters have been a distant second place. So while I understand Richie thinking that it's a good idea to "go progressive" I don't understand how that is going to grow the W. Lesbians have always been hard core W fans and will continue to be. There is no incremental fan pick up there. Maybe Richie believes the women's basketball market is at some sort of progressive "tipping point" and is ripe for growth based on that strategy alone. It could be that Stern brought her in specifically because she didn't know anything about basketball and wanted a clean sheet approach.

    It will be an interesting year to watch the league as we'll get to see how their marketing strategy and implementation works out. It certainly isn't without it's risks.

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