The WNBA has failed to become mainstream. Although popularity has steadily grown over the past decade, the league has not become a staple in American sports. This could change though with an ever-growing social media platform. And with an idea from Adam Silver’s plans for the NBA.
Adam Silver brought up an idea to help package NBA games in a way that can be appealing to an ever more widespread audience than exists today. That idea is to give fans an option to buy the last five minutes of the game for a certain price (or a package of multiple/all five minute endings of games). This would certainly help to commercialize the WNBA, because zeroing in on exposure to women’s basketball in clutch moments would serve well compared to entire games. There are many NBA fans who cannot watch the entirety of an NBA basketball game, and so that further explains how this option would appeal to getting an even bigger following for the WNBA.
The WNBA has grown its amount of stars and their identities have taken shape alongside. From Diana Taurasi, Seimone Augustus, and Candace Parker to Maya Moore and onwards, the WNBA has a lot more appeal spread out through its league now than it had in the past. Not only are the stars more divvied up throughout the league, but there are also highly successful franchises in smaller markets like the Minnesota Lynx and Indiana Fever. With this ability to brand from both a player and team perspective, the conversation that would accompany fans watching these clutch culminations would be rather in-depth and exciting after getting accustomed.
Although sacrificing the first three quarters and more of the game would be detrimental to passionate WNBA fans and arguably the sport or league as a whole, there is no question that a shorter more concentrated package of WNBA content would be more consumed. Given the summer timeframe that the WNBA has, it seems like a time when people might have more free time than usual. These little excerpts of games could be the perfect summer schedule addition.
It could also bring together girls and boys or men and women together in a way that has not really been explored aside from in Olympic team sports. Women could be the spectacle and have men watch the best of their talents. All it could potentially take is one or two amazing games/performances and the league could see a definite spike in its outreach.
It seems as though a handful of years back, women’s college basketball was more popular than it is today. When Candace Parker was playing for Pat Summit some years back at Tennessee or even when Maya Moore was still leading UConn in the NCAA, there seemed to be more of a focus on the sport. The unbelievable and seemingly overwhelming success of UConn’s program has stinted the interest in the outcome of games though. Despite this decrease in attention to women’s college basketball, wins like the one that South Carolina had over UConn may be able to push the sport back higher up in the pecking order. That re-growth should make prospects entering the WNBA get more press coverage.
Changing the narrative of the WNBA will be the biggest task to fight for. For years, it has been a laughingstock when existentially being related to the NBA. Without the superstardom that the NBA lives off of, the WNBA will have to use all of its collective value to push for more growth. Ironically, that is the same way that it seems women have had to fight for everything they have in this day and age, through teaming up and using grit, fierceness, and relentlessness.