WNBA

How the WNBA Can Triple Its Ratings Overnight

At the tail end of 2015, Gilbert Arenas emerged from the shadows and offered some ideas to better the WNBA’s on-court product. Were those ideas sexist? Yes, very. But that doesn’t mean the Women’s National Basketball Association doesn’t need to do something to spice things up. Average attendance dipped to an all-time low 7,184 fans per game last season, and television ratings for the league continue to drop, falling by 14% since 2014.

An average of 202,000 viewers take in the average WNBA game on ESPN or ESPN2, and I’d argue those numbers are inflated by bars and restaurants broadcasting women’s games that nobody’s watching.



 

Female ballers are incredibly talented, but they’re never going to get the recognition they deserve because they’re playing men’s basketball. Is it sexist to say that men and women are different creatures, and possess different physical limitations?

Women volleyball players play with lower nets, female golfers play from tee boxes closer to the hole, and softball players don’t have to hit a ball 400+ to center field for a home run. The fact that the WNBA hasn’t made sweeping changes to make games more entertaining isn’t just narrow-minded, it’s monetarily ignorant. Nobody makes money off the WNBA, and a lot of people (most importantly, the players) could if they made these three changes…

3) Add a Four-Point Line

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If you haven’t watched a WNBA game recently (as aforementioned, you’re not alone), the likes of Sue Bird, Maya Moore, and Elena Delle Donne can really shoot the rock. You know what would bring attention to the women’s game? The world’s first 40-foot game-winning four-pointer. The four-pointer wouldn’t get old, and it plays to the biggest strength of the women’s game: shooting…

2) Make The Shot Clock 20 Seconds
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You know what fans love? Fast breaks. You know what people don’t love? Half court offense. Speed up the game and emphasize offense…

1) Lower the Rims

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The most prominent voice in women’s hoops (Geno Auriemma) says it needs to be done. As does the 6’5 Delle Donne, who told USA Today’s For The Win:

“I think it would bring a whole different aspect to the game and bring viewership as well and show the athleticism of our women. We do every single thing on that court that the men do, other than the dunking. And, obviously, there is a handful of athletes who can dunk.”




She continued:

“Volleyball, their net’s lower. Golf, their tees are closer. It goes on and on. Tennis, they play [fewer] sets. Why not lower our rim and let every single player player in the league play above the rim like the NBA can?”

It’s really a no-brainer. For the WNBA to gain mainstream relevancy, its players need to throw down alley-oops. Is that really taboo to say?…

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