There's a new New York Times article called "Amid Successes, WNBA Is Still Facing Challenges." Normally, this would go into a FanShot but I decided to make it a Fanpost. Written by William C. Rhoden, it contains a whole chock full of information, all of which is worth a sustained discussion.
* Even though season ticket sales are going up, general attendance is going down.
* WNBA merchandise sales are up and group sales are up.
* From WNBA President Laurel Richie:
“I feel very good about the level of play in the United States, and we’ve had a very solid year in terms of very key metrics."
I'd love to know what those metrics are.
* The Los Angeles Sparks are the only team where a network pays to show their games - in this case, Time Warner Sports West. Other teams either let their games be broadcast for free - or they pay a fee to have their games televised. Paula Madison of the Sparks felt that was the wrong long-term strategy.
“I’m not giving this away; that’s content that somebody needs,” she said. “Once you give it away, it becomes virtually impossible now to monetize it.”
* Chamique Holdsclaw complained that the league wasn't promoting its best players. However, she gave the league props for acknowledging its gay fan base.
* In general, the league is moving towards promoting players like Seimone Augustus who are very different from the kind of players they might have marketed at the beginning of the league's history.
* Paula Madison's decision to buy the Sparks was triggered by Don Imus calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos".
* The goal for the league, according to Madison, should be to secure a league-wide television contract.