Since you are on WNST.net to read about sports I am going to make the assumption that you are a pretty big sports fan. Now I want you to be honest, how many of you had any idea the WNBA season began this weekend? I consider myself a sports junkie and I had no idea until I noticed a little blurb on a national website.
Delving further into the lack of interest in the league I wonder how many sports fans could name two teams currently playing in the WNBA or tell me who won the WNBA Championship last year.
I have nothing against women playing sports or attempting to make a living playing a game they love; I am just sick of it being shoved down my throat. The WNBA’s motto is “Expect Great” but I think a more fitting motto would be “Expect Blown Lay-Ups” or “Expect Boring”. I can honestly say that while I have watched lumberjack competitions and dart tournaments on ESPN I have never watched more than thirty seconds of a WNBA game.
The WNBA is a league that is subsidized by the NBA and without this it is a league that could never survive on its own. In December of 2008 the Houston Comets who have won four championships since 1997 were disbanded after they could not find a new owner. Think about that for a second, the team that has won the most championships in the history of the league couldn’t find a new owner. That would be like the Steinbrenner’s giving up the Yankees and the team contracting because they couldn’t find anyone to purchase the franchise.
I question how the WNBA is a viable sports league when their average televised game attracted around 413,000 viewers; a little more than one-fourth the amount of viewers for an average NBA game.
In terms of attendance teams averaged around 7,800 fans per game last season. So arenas that have a capacity of around 18-20,000 are well less than half full. How about instead of paying the huge overhead on a major arena that teams have no chance of filling up, they move games to smaller arenas with 8-10,000 seats? This would not only drastically reduce overhead but it would give the league an appearance of interest by showing arenas full rather than half empty.
WNST.net is a Baltimore sports website and this topic does indeed stretch to the sports landscape of Baltimore. Last July Mayor Sheila Dixon claimed the WNBA told her a franchise could settle in Baltimore if the city builds a new arena. I absolutely agree 1st Mariner Arena is an embarrassment of a venue that should be demolished as soon as possible, but are we really going to accelerate the process to lure a failing league to our city? Let me see if I can get this straight…we are going to build a 16,000 seat arena for a team that will likely drawn under 8,000 fans per game? Yeah that seems like a solid economic move.
The sports dollar in Baltimore is already stretched to its limit with the Ravens and Orioles; do city officials really think a WNBA team would be profitable in anyway? On top of the fact that I don’t think Baltimore could sustain a WNBA franchise, Washington has a WNBA team that plays just 40 minutes away. So now we are to believe that not only can this area sustain one franchise but two franchises that would play within an hour of each other.
I listen to around eight hours of sports talk a day and I can positively say I have never once heard a caller chiming in with commentary on the amazing WNBA game they watched last night.
Baltimore is a great sports town that loves it teams like no other place in the Country but a WNBA franchise would be a catastrophic economic failure. If we are in the business of losing money hand over fist then I guess we will see the inaugural season of the Baltimore Beachcombers sometime in 2010 in their state of the art half empty arena.