Growing the game

At least one AP writer thinks tonight could be a watershed moment for women’s hoops, as it marks the first time in history that two undefeated teams have squared off:

But this isn’t the first time the game has stepped into the national spotlight.

The great rivalry between UConn and Tennessee and its Hall of Fame coaches Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt drew national attention – except they haven’t scheduled games against each other for years.

But the sport hasn’t moved on, and the casual interest has.

”The women’s tournament has continued to get great buzz, but the real challenge is how fast it can develop,” said Robert Boland, who is the Professor and Academic Chair of the sports management program at NYU’s Tisch Center. ”The men’s tournament was being won through the ’70s by UCLA, but it kept growing and growing and exploded with the Magic-Bird game. The historical parallel is sort of where the women’s game is now. For the sport to sustain interest, it needs the players to move on and have compelling rivalries in the WNBA.

”For women’s basketball, college is the pre-eminent level.”

And that hasn’t been enough to grow the sport.

If this columnist is right, that no one cares about women’s basketball, why do you think that is, readers?

What would it take to grow the sport? What do you think?

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  1. The unfortunate fact is some people will never care for womens hoops no matter how big rivalries and players get. The good news is that the athleticism and sophistication are at levels they never were before. Same for the media attention. Things will continue to improve I believe

  2. But how will they continue to improve, and by what means? We need to deal in specifics.

    And we can't take the passive approach: we have to take this on directly.

  3. More money, more parity, more exposure. These college athletic departments need to get to a level where they are spending just as much money on male and female sports. College sports in general invoke big rivalries, so I don't see how women's basketball would be any different. I understand milestones are being set here but the media coverage this season has pretty much been UCONN and everybody else, with Notre Dame as an undefeated after thought.
    Lastly, these players need to do more to get themselves in the public eye, this goes especially for the WNBA. Seems like the only place you see them is on the court. They keep their heads down, do their job and disappear until the next game. Where are the personalities, where's the connection with the people,tv, film, ads.
    You cultivate growth by making a connection with the people.