Some weeks ago, I was anticipating the start of another WNBA season, and all of the hope for the league and the sport which reside therein. One of the things that WNBA fans, including myself, look forward to each summer is the arrival of new WNBA merchandise. However, this May, there was something that caught my eye, something that initiated a dichotomy within me.
To my surprise, I found that plus size women's shirts were included among the new merchandise arrivals at the WNBA store. I wasn't sure what to make of it at the time, and I am still not quite sure now.
From one perspective, it seems as though the WNBA is trying to broaden its appeal, and that this is an innovative way to do so. This new venture reaches out to a demographic which had, it seemed, been left untapped by all of the league's prior efforts. Reaching your target audience in a new way is a great way to grow your brand. In that respect, this undertaking is admirable.
However, there is a flip side to all of this. For years, WNBA athletes have been trying to educate us all about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. To have this coincide with the arrival of extra large merchandise is, for me, perplexing at best. Even so, we have more prominent exposure to the healthier messages at hand than anything that might be gleaned from the presence of plus sized clothing. Still, the mere presence of it is enough to raise eyebrows and elicit some concern.