Key Arena is tops

A survey of WNBA general managers says Key Arena is the best place to play in the league. (Duh)

Team news:

Dream….a day with Angel McCoughtry.

Fever….Karima Christms is displaying warrior mentality.

Liberty….Kamiko Williams is proud of her military father.

Lynx….the “Mone Zone,” episode one.

Mystics….coach Mike Thibault will go for history next game, and try to be the league’s most winning coach.

Silver Stars….have waived Julie Wojta and Chante Black because Jayne Appel is back.

Shock….rookie Skylar Diggins blogs.

Sky….rookie Elena Delle Donne blogs.

DuPont is now sponsoring Delle Donne.

Tomorrow’s game preview:

Liberty at Sparks

Pat Summitt:

“XO” exclusive clip.

World University Games team:

Linnae Harper is going for her third gold medal.

Jordan Hooper is embracing the Games.


  1. Good for EDD. DuPont is an international, world class company. This is a clear step above what the W has seen before in their baller sponsorships. Long term deal at three years. Great News.

    Attendance update – through Tuesday, 7/2

    – 65 games played – 31.4% of total schedule
    – Avg Attendance dropped slightly to 7305 seats
    – Down by 152 tickets or 2.0% vs last year end of 7457

  2. Curiosity has induced me to calculate per-game attendance by team, home and away, through six weeks of play now.
    Here's how they rank:
    Phoenix — 9800, (5 dates)
    Minnesota — 8577, (5 dates)
    Los Angeles — 7963, (7 dates)
    Indiana — 7826, (6 dates)
    Washington — 7584, (5 dates)
    San Antonio — 7279, (5 dates)
    Seattle — 7208, (4 dates)
    Connecticut — 7123, (6 dates)
    New York — 6610, (5 dates)
    Chicago — 6553, (6 dates)
    Atlanta — 6332, (7 dates)
    Tulsa — 5070, (5 dates)

    Los Angeles — 8711, (4 dates)
    Atlanta — 8296, (4 dates)
    Phoenix — 8163, (7 dates)
    Indiana — 8119, (4 dates)
    New York — 7774, (6 dates)
    Minnesota — 7191, (5 dates)
    Washington — 7152 (6 dates)
    Tulsa — 6938, (9 dates)
    Chicago — 6818, (5 dates)
    Connecticut — 6490, (4 dates)
    Seattle — 6443, (7 dates)
    San Antonio — 6134, (5 dates)

    Re. the "3 to See":
    While Elena is producing best on court and endorsement-wise and Skylar leads the pack in photo-ops, the big girl is putting the most fannies in seats so far.

    And speaking of photo-ops, did y'all catch the shot of Brittney in the kiddie-picture montage in the latest Sports Illustrated? The color of that volleyball uniform would place her in middle school at the time it was taken.
    (There's also a just-too-cute snapshot of Katie Smith.)

    Once again, I apologize for my excessive verbosity, Ms. F — English teacher foible, I suppose.

  3. Abacus – Some interesting data. Based upon your averages some interesting trends indicated:

    Teams drawing better on the road than at home:

    Los Angeles +748 seats @ road games vs home
    Atlanta +1964 seats
    Indiana +293 seats
    New York +1164 seats
    Tulsa +1868
    Chicago +265

    Teams with higher home vs road attendance:

    Phoenix +1637 @ home games vs road
    Minnesota +1386
    Washington +432
    Connecticut +633
    Seattle +765
    San Antonio +1145

    This info doesn't mean anything in raw attendance only relative to their home vs road performance. However based upon that metric Atlanta, Tulsa and New York are "more" appreciated" on the road in that order. We'd say they travel well compared to their home game attendance.

    Phoenix, Minnesota and San Antonio look stronger at home vs their road attendance in that order based upon the same comparison.

    In this context if a franchise is strong both at home and on the road the variance would be minimal so the metric favors those teams with wider variances versus those with high or low relative attendance both at home and on the road. In some cases the results are correlated in some the are not.

  4. Attendance figures are interesting, but irrelevant to the existence of the WNBA. If the NBA decides to pull the plug, they will. Remember, too, that ESPN bought the broadcast rights through 2022.

  5. They are only irrelevant if you don't believe that there is a correlation between the gate and franchise success. Stern and the NBA have always "supported" the W and will continue to do so from a marketing standpoint. Until the most recent deal with ESPN the W was always "baked Into" the overall NBA broadcasting deals. The W has always received more broadcast media exposure than warranted by pure business metrics as a negotiated position by the NBA.

    That said hopefully it isn't lost on anyone that fully 50% of the WNBA championships that have been won to date were won by franchises that are now out of business…Houston (4), Detroit (3) and Sacramento (1).

    Now that half of the W teams are owned by groups not affiliated with the NBA the importance of individual franchise profitability has never been more important if these teams are going to survive as stand alone, self-supporting franchises.

    As most know the driver of the 11 baller roster was lack of franchise profitability. It remains to be seen if the new ESPN deal will generate enough revenue that can be passed through to the individual franchises so they can justify the incremental $200K it will cost for two additional players to get the teams back to 13 ballers. That is a 20% increase of the current payroll, which is a ton given that most franchises aren't profitable now.

    Finally, given the WNBA and NBA's willingness to put out stories that are a bit let's say "creative" with actual performance the actual box score posted attendance is one of the few metrics that an average fan can look at and track versus prior periods.

  6. There's no correlation between gate and franchise success. The WNBA has now been around 17 seasons, and no team has been in the black yet.

    Do you know how many billions of dollars the NBA makes each year? Funding the WNBA is candy money to them.

  7. Interesting comparative analysis, Anon…should have thought to do it myself. (I'm not living up to my pseudonym!)
    The sample size is still pretty small — the Sparks' road number is skewed by the 13,000+ they drew in Phoenix. for example.

    Thanks for pointing me towards your article, Ms. F. I learned more about international ball in ten minutes or so than I'd learned in over 50 years.

    While the NBA's backing can be expected to keep the league afloat, don't you have to admit that the onerous roster restrictions (which emanate from economic concerns, right?) are compromising both the quality of play and the wellness/safety of the players? Is it fair to the paying customer when the Fever or Silver Stars too often succumb to attrition moreso than their opponent's superior play?

    Finally, in your view, what is it that leads a franchise to fold (e.g. the Comets) or relocate (e.g. the Shock)?
    If bad habits have not completely compromised my recollection, Rockets' owner Les Alexander simply didn't want a WNBA team any longer. And didn't a change in the Pistons' ownership ultimately end the Shock's run in Detroit?

  8. 1. Glad you enjoyed the piece, Abacus.

    2. See today's posting about expanding the roster size. I don't think anyone disagrees that the 11-player limit is stupid.

    3. Yes, it is entirely discretionary. That's why I say there's no point in citing attendance numbers as prognosticative tools. If the NBA wants to pull the plug, it can at any time.

  9. Sue – I guess it depends upon how you define success. To me when we are talking about professional sports a franchise is only successful if it fields a competitive team over time and makes enough money to reinvest in the business to create a stable organization that their employees, their fans and the league can count on being around. Based upon my definition the gate is definitely correlated with success because a strong gate builds the franchise Brand within the community and drives revenue.

    I don't define success as just winning championships or even winning records if the business side isn't sustainable. That said the fact the 6 of the 12 prior WNBA championships were won by franchises that couldn't make it as a business certainly says something important to those that care.

    I read your piece on overseas WPBB last year and thought it was interesting and well done. As you noted the markets are very different. There is nothing like Title IX anywhere but in the US. That said at the end of the day they are also about making money. Their business model is just different.

    In any case it isn't the NBA's responsibility to keep the W in business no matter how much money they make. It's the W's responsibility to get folks interested in their game. I think the league decided this back in 2008 when they went to the 11 baller roster. Making money became a priority then and it still is.

    Ackerman's recent NCAA white paper basically calls out this issue. Not enough interest in the product in spite of the fact that WCBB is by far the most popular women's college sport. Revenues are substantially short of expenses. Right now the W is more of the same. The difference is that at the college level the students and taxpayers pay the freight and so far seem willing to do so. Private business isn't so interested in these results. Until the basic fan interest problem is solved there is going to be a problem.

  10. You can debate the definition of success, and you can post statistics here til the cows come home. I don't have a problem with that. I'm just saying, this is the reality of the situation.

    Don't know if you know this, but in the NCAA, only football and men's basketball make any money for their respective schools.

  11. I've been following Wendy Parker for about as long as I've followed you. She's got pretty impressive sportswriting chops and views that are frequently accurate but outside the mainstream of conventional thinking about women's sports. I thought her most recent blog post was well done and touches with some of the things we've been kicking around. Link attached for those that are interested.