Interesting collection of thoughts in this piece:
Recently, Griner proposed to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock, and potentially could become the first same-sex married couple in professional sports. The league seems unsure how to approach such a topic, but Richie said it embraces its LGBT fan base.
Richie said the WNBA seeks to unify all of its fans and the emphasis is marketing — such as afternoon games for families or promotions aimed at school kids — and a more polished product on the floor. The WNBA is intelligently attempting to avoid catering to one particular group of fans, hoping that the quality of play attracts a wider variety of people.
According to Richie, six of the league’s 12 teams are turning a profit, which is a relief to the NBA and a testament to the arduous marketing and promotion. But teams such as the Sparks playing in the vast Staples Center with widespread empty seats in the lower bowl is a ghastly look.
There has to be a better way to forge an identity. The league needs to figure out a way to take those unattractive ads off the front of the jerseys without losing sponsorship money, add a team in markets such as the Bay Area and the Knoxville area, which has always supported women’s basketball, and find a way to attract those who haven’t yet embraced the league.
That will be the biggest challenge of all, but it also could help the league survive another two decades.
Although the WNBA has escaped the novelty phase and has become more of a staple of summer sports, those in power have to continue to feverishly work to improve and enhance its image, knowing their league is still shrouded in skepticism.