The title of the story, above, says it all. There are far more fans and there is much greater media coverage for college women's basketball than there is for the WNBA. Writer Lyndsey D'Arcangelo cites two main factors:
- A lack of tradition/history because the league is only 20 years old.
- A lack of media to cover teams and lack of interest in the league in non-WNBA cities.
LaChina Robinson is quoted as saying, “Take the NBA. It’s constantly there, in your face, reminding you that it exists."
Yes to all of the above.
I will add:
- Fans and many of WNBA players themselves don't seem to know much about history of women's basketball, nor the history of the league. Newer WNBA fans have surprised me with their ignorance of the league's founding players, as have college players. I asked one current DI player last season if she knew who Chamique Holdsclaw is, and she didn't. You have to know history to have tradition. How can anyone expect newcomers to become fans of the WNBA if those who watch it and play in it don't know much about it?
- I've been the only reporter at pregame warmups more times than I can count. I'm always one of two or three on opening day of training camp. I'm used to lots of open seats on press row.
People in non-WNBA cities don't talk about the league like NBA fans in non-NBA cities do. It gets back to what LaChina said about marketing: the NBA is always in your face. In the meantime, the WNBA is chilling in the corner.
I've written about the need of the league to market before, and then followed it up. I didn't see much, if any, WNBA marketing this past winter.
I've heard some former players say college is the highlight of their basketball lives, and I can see why they'd say that as the WNBA seems largely forgotten for now. Hopefully Connecticut Sun vice president Amber Cox is right, and we need to have patience.
A bit of reading up and marketing would help, too.