It’s no secret the WNBA can be a lightning rod for critics.
Maybe we’re preaching to the choir here – and it’s not the place to get political – but we’ve never really understood why that is.
As the WNBA enters its 22nd season (crazy, right?!), let’s take a look at the top five reasons the… shall we say… ill-informed hate on the W.
People Still Think They Can Beat WNBA Players One-On-One
We hear this all the time. Probably coming from the same people who think curling is easy.
(Trust me; it’s not!)
Whether it’s profoundly incorrect stereotypes or simply ego, the notion that anyone could hang with these women is just, well, dumb.
There shouldn’t be any shame in that; the WNBA employs over 120 of the best basketball players (notice we didn’t say “female” basketball players) in the known universe.
The NBA Promotes it Too Much
Since the late ‘90s, WNBA detractors have complained that the NBA shoves the WNBA down their throats.
Umm, okay? That’s not really a good reason to hate something.
The support and exposure the NBA gives the WNBA is greatly appreciated, and we’ve seen direct correlations with viewership (meaning new fans!) when they do so.
If you hear people say something like that, just tell them to ignore all the “noise” the WNBA unfairly receives and give it a shot.
We’re confident they’ll come back.
They Play the Game Below the Rim
This isn’t entirely inaccurate. But here’s a shocker: so does the NBA!
Look at the some of the most popular players in the NBA, like Steph Curry. He’s one of (if not the) most exciting players to watch, and he plays the game 20 to 30 feet from the rim. Just because WNBA players don’t throw it down every single night certainly doesn’t mean the league is any less thrilling to watch. Quite the opposite, actually.
Admittedly, though, we do think dunking is pretty cool…
— WNBA (@WNBA) July 22, 2017
The WNBA Makes Them Angry
For some people out there, the following four letters will make people irritated without any justifiable cause or reason: W-N-B-A.
We understand some people aren’t keen on giving the WNBA and/or women’s basketball a chance. What we don’t understand, however, is the vitriol the league gets.
For example, I’m not the biggest hockey fan. I have nothing against the sport; I just grew up watching basketball. But, man, I truly respect how tough hockey players are and how beautiful the game can be. Hockey does not affect my life in the least, and it certainly doesn’t make me mad.
Why, then, does the WNBA have that affect?
(It stems from generations of unfounded stereotypes, but that discussion is for another day.)
The WNBA Isn’t Growing
There’s a lot to unpack here, but they’re wrong.
Last year, during the 2017 season, the WNBA registered its highest total attendance (1,574,078) and highest average attendance (7,716) since 2011. In fact, your Connecticut Sun garnered double-digit growth (+15.3%)!
Additionally, the league reached nearly 14 million likes and followers across all league, team and player social platforms this season, growing by 15% with the addition of two million fans from the 2016 season. The WNBA Facebook page achieved 1 million likes this season. In addition, the league broke records with more than 679 million impressions (+59%) and over 140 million video views (+233%) versus 2016.
Is there more room for growth? Absolutely.
Are we satisfied? Not in the slightest.