More Fever injury

So I had just blogged about the Fever’s ridiculous number of injuries yesterday. Today the game comes on NBA TV and I see Tamika Catchings walking to the bench in street clothes. Suddenly I’m talking to the tube:

“Tamika Catchings is injured now? For real? Are you serious?”

Seriously. She’s day-to-day with a lower back strain. It’s unbelievable.

And though they lead by two at halftime, the Sky turned on the gas in the third quarter and went on to win, 71-61.

Meanwhile, the Shock notched their third win by routing the Storm, 92-70.

Team news:

Sparks….the new voice of the Sparks is suburban resident Huisha Bush.

Shock….youthful Shock want to identify as persistent team.

Tomorrow’s games:

Dream at Sun

Silver Stars at Liberty

Mystics at Sparks

Shock at Lynx

College news:

New Ohio State Coach Kevin McGuff reaches out to Buckeye fans.


  1. I always look forward to Ms. Richie's pitches disguised as speaking engagements. One of the challenges of having a professional marketer filling the position of WNBA President is that there is no such thing as bad news. That's a great approach as a marketer as it keeps everyone in a positive frame of mind. The problem with professional marketers once they have been put in charge of an entire business is they frequently have trouble understanding that while a positive pitch is important, people that run businesses are responsible for understanding what is actually going on, both good and bad, and making adjustments to ensure the future of the organization. Richie is clearly learning on the job.

    Only an experienced pro marketer would make the "Three to See" comparison to Bird/Magic with a straight face.

    A few observations:

    – We are now 44 games or 21% +/- into the season. Average attendance is 7,200 fans which is 257 fewer or down 3.5% from the 2012 season end average of 7,457 fans. Not great news and much worse if the league isn't aware / concerned and doing something to improve it immediately.

    – Taking the most recent attendance of each WNBA game home venue and projecting current attendance through mid-season or 102 games, attendance is projected at 6,864 fans, which would be down 593 fans or 8.0% from the 2012 year end. Those are not good numbers. It may be that attendance through the next 30 games will be different that the most recent results but probably not materially. Hopefully in spite of Richie's self-congratulatory missives she understands this trend and is dealing with it. If not we will know for sure by July 24 when all 102 games have been contested.

    – As far as I can tell there have been two games so far in this young season that have had five technical fouls called. In both contests PHX had three of those technicals. Without getting into too much detail suffice it to say that roundball contests in which five technicals are called fall well outside of the "family friendly" profile that Richie claims they are trying to sell. I wouldn't have mentioned this but I've been observing that well over 80% of comments on the ESPN WNBA score tracker blogs are being posted by gamblers who are now following the W because Vegas has established betting lines on the league. Yesterday one of these degenerate gamblers criticized the sportsmanship of the Mercury based upon the technicals and general bad attitude. You know you have a problem when gamblers are making character comments about your league. Hopefully Richie is paying attention.

  2. I have a coupe of questions — what else is new, huh? (If ignorance truly were bliss, I'd be the happiest dude in the universe.)

    What is the most fiscally sound franchise in the league?
    To what extent is a franchise's fiscal soundness contingent on the "live gate"?

    Presuming that LA would be at or near the top of that list, I tracked their 2012 attendance.
    In 10 dates prior to the Olympic break, they averaged a smidgen over 10,000; in 7 post-Olympic dates, the average slipped to just under 9,000.
    This season, through 5 dates, the average is about 8,000.
    If my mental math is correct, that a drop of about 15%.
    And the Sparks seem to be drawing as well or better than most everybody else.

    It's past time for some radical "out-of-the-box" thinking.

  3. I don't believe that team profitability is officially published for the W franchises, so whatever is out there is normally coming from the League as averages and / or publications like Sports Business Daily. I don't have a current link but will be looking for one.

    The assumption has always been that the gate is a good yardstick for overall franchisee health. The problem with that logic is that the published attendance doesn't reflect "paid" attendance. Traditionally there have been lots of ticket give aways / promotions and heavily discounted tickets being sold. So all attendance is not created equal from a financial standpoint.

    A person would think that the teams are getting some financial share of the new agreements with ESPN, Boost Mobile and other league partners and sponsors but that info isn't pubic.

    I agree that LA should be one of the strongest franchises. Your 2012 numbers are interesting. I didn't look backwards on my projection other than at the most recent home game. I was encouraged to see LA's last game at 9651 as the game prior to that was only 6490 which is a scary low number for that market. That's a strange and very large swing for games that were on the same weekend.

    The attendance drop off after mid-season you note in the 2012 is something I wondered about generally. It kind of makes sense to me that as the dog days of summer drag on attendance might drop off. Hopefully that won't happen this year. If it does that will be a very bad thing.

    The good news is that attendance was better this last weekend. Average attendance is now -196 seats at 7261 vs last year. That's still down 2.6% but it's trending upward. LA actually had higher attendance at their last home game than PHX did at theirs. LA has only had one game over 10K this year, their home opener at 10090.

    Of course the teams that really kill average attendance are Tulsa, Atlanta and Chicago.

    Totally agree with you on the need for a plan. I just don't see one coming from the League at this point. It looks to me like the franchisees are pretty much on their own now. Hopefully some smart people will analyze Richie's approach to this year and figure out what worked and what didn't.

    The other possibly positive thing may be that with David Stern retiring in early 2014 maybe the new NBA dude, Adam Silver will have some new ideas that can help the league get firmly established. Considering the less than stellar early returns on Richie's 2013 marketing plan it looks like something has to give.

    Finally they have to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement in the very near future and given the negative attendance trends since the last one was signed in 2008 the players aren't in a great position. A link summarizing the current CBA follows:

    Lots of tough decisions to make.