No game night

I hate no game nights.

WNBA team news:

Liberty….all access with the team and coach Bill Laimbeer.

Essence Carson discusses her ACL injury.

Kara Braxton is holding down the fort.

Mystics….talking with veteran Crystal Langhorne.

Media members discuss the Mystics.

Washington has raced out of the gates this season.

Sky….Elena Delle Donne blogs about deep dish pizza, among other things.

Sylvia Fowles and Delle Donne met Chicago’s mayor.

Silver Stars….Jia Perkins throughout the years.

Lynx….tomorrow night, the Lynx will battle a familiar face in Candice Wiggins.

Mercury….the Mercury five for this week.

Tomorrow’s games:

Storm at Dream preview.

Sun at Liberty preview.

Lynx at Shock preview.

Sparks at Mercury preview.

General WNBA:

One columnist thinks its time to restore WNBA roster sanity. I couldn’t agree more.

College news:

Trina Patterson has left Stanford to be an assistant coach at Old Dominion.

Colorado’s Rachel Hargis is healing from her MCL tear.

Nebraska coach Connie Yori is in a zone: coaching and mothering.

High school news:

Taryn Griffey – Ken Griffey Jr.’s daughter – is shooting for her senior moment after sitting out last year with an injury.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Many thanks for the link to newspaper report on roster issues, Ms. Favor — it clears up a lot for me.

    I'm still wondering why teams get put into such a bind —
    Either the decision-makers are completely out-of-touch with the reality of running a hoop team…
    Or the league's financial woes are worse than I'd imagined if this is the best business model they can come up with.

    How close is the WNBA to being self-sufficient…or is its existence still pretty much dependent on the NBA's backing?

    It doesn't take an abacus to see that something isn't adding up here!

  2. Seems like everyone is on board with needing to bump the roster back up to 13 from a pure basketball perspective. I took a look back to the 2009 Orender era to confirm my recollection that the move to 11 was made for fiscal reasons during the recession. Average WNBA game attendance has been as follows since that time:

    2009 – 8024
    2010 – 7830
    2011 – 7688
    2012 – 7457 – lowest in history of league

    It's been generally agreed that no more than three of the twelve teams in the league operate in the black. The league itself should be doing better based upon the deals with ESPN and Boost mobile. Those deals should also be helping each team at some level. It would be interesting to know who is getting the bucks from the price increase from 5 to 15 bucks for the online game transmissions. Someone is making more money from that move.

    The major issue is how are Richie's marketing strategies are working this season. Current attendance, through 27 games, has averaged 7600 seats which is about 2% higher than last year. That said, if you take out the home openers for each team the numbers do not look too promising. I don't want to be overly negative here but based upon trends right now I doubt that attendance this year will be higher than last year unless something magical happens. I don't think Richie has a Plan B. She played her cards with "Three to See" and the progressive ESPN / Griner pitch. New TV ads are OK, but nothing new or compelling.

    As of this writing the WNBA still does not have a successful business model for franchise owners. Those in the red are losing seven figures per year in many cases.

  3. @Anonymous:
    Thank you, sir or ma'am, for the history and economics lesson!

    There seems already to be a drop in attendance this season — averaging 7500 might be tough unless a lot of teams run a lot of kid-friendly promotions this summer.

    To what extent do they try to market the league in the countries where these women play during the "regular" season? Perhaps that's an untapped source of broadcasting revenue.

    Re. "3 to See": There seems to be a disconnect when they so strongly promote three rookies, but provide a training camp and preseason that is (to put it kindly) a tad "rushed."

    With the skill level of these players and the quality of coaching in the women's game these days, the often incomprehensible running of the league is discouraging — at least to this fan.

  4. I don't think they market overseas at all. It is interesting as most everyone that knows WBB acknowledges that the W plays the best brand of women's basketball in the world but you can't tell it by the gate.

    While it's probably too harsh to say "Three to See" is a failure the lack of performance & wins by Griner & Diggins has been unfortunate. Diggins had 2 points and 1 assist in 21 minutes tonight. Not good.

    The huge Griner social pitch and goofy discussions about her playing in the NBA have also been not so great given her slow start. They ended up being right on Del Donne though. She hit the ground running in Chicago.

    It's very concerning. Attendance at the first three games tonight was 4960, 5845 & 5273 which is ridiculous. The PHX / LA game should come in higher than that, but the average now through 30 games is 7378 which is 79 fans per game lower than last year.

    Something is going to have to change. Quick.

  5. My concerns for the WNBA seem to fluctuate between the extremes of:
    a) "The sky is falling!"
    b) realization that the NBA was experiencing similar instability at this stage of its development (early '60's).

    I do think the "make or break" of the league will happen during the careers of this generation of players — not just the Big 3, but Parker, Moore, Augustus, McCoughtry, etal.

    Final Question (for now):
    What would happen if the NBA were to yank its financial support — would that indeed be the "death knell"?

  6. I'm jaded because I've been hearing this "the league is about to fold" shit for the last 16 years.

    The NBA is what's keeping the league going, period. It doesn't look like they're going to yank their support anytime soon – just look at what David Stern said about the WNBA a few months ago.

    They stretch the NBA finals out for a very long, long, long time. (It's been two months, literally). The NBA is a billion dollar corporation. Supporting the WNBA isn't much out of their pockets.

    This is the first year where the WNBA has had a discernable marketing plan. Let's see how it plays out before we make a judgement.

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