WNBA not as popular as NBA
By Courtnie Martin, Sports Reporter
While most people can probably name the 2013 NBA Champions, there are significantly fewer people who know the WNBA title-holders. Men’s basketball has always reigned supreme. Although women’s basketball has made strides to improve its fan base, the fact of the matter remains: women’s basketball isn’t as entertaining.
The biggest differences between the two are fundamentals and skills. While men wow the world with the finesse of reverse layups and fast-break dunks, the women simply play basketball with an occasional outstanding crossover or an unexpected give-and-go. Women’s basketball lacks the athleticism to pull in the crowd.
One of the most controversial and recently discovered reasons behind the rise (and simultaneous lack thereof) within the women’s basketball fan base and exposure is those who support the sport: the lesbian community. The fan base is much broader in the NBA. Everyone and anyone from all over the world will fly in and spend ridiculous amounts of money to watch men annihilate one another on the court. Although continually making strides, society has not yet completely accepted the LGBT community, and this slow-to-move-forward thinking could potentially be affecting the variety of support within the sport.
Once you’ve noted the difference in skill set, agility, athleticism, “oohs and ahs,” and fan base between the two, a succinct “duh” could explain why women’s basketball is still not as popular. On a more political standpoint you could factor in the theory that media sells—meaning, which sex is more publicized? You have the “Jingle Bells” commercial where some of the NBA’s finest play the song by shooting basketballs at threes, while the women have produced very boring commercials—if at all. Not to mention, how many women have huge contracts with Nike and Adidas? Sheryl Swoopes was the first woman to have a basketball shoe named after her with Nike in the ‘90s, and Candace Parker had contracts with Gatorade and Nike bringing in an insane $3- to $5-million annually—not so insane in the NBA, where it’s not hard to name a few prominent athletes with endorsement deals: Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, etc.
To make matters worse, men make an average of $5-million on their contract while woman are struggling to hit six figures. All these things line up with what sells. As talented as some of our female athletes are, the league is still quite young and the talent isn’t equivalent quite yet. Hopefully, one day it will be.