FanPost

The Six Seasons of Women's Basketball

Women's pro basketball is different from men's pro basketball in that the women's pro season does not compete with the college season. One could think of the year as having two seasons, college and pro, and a women's basketball fan gets to enjoy basketball all year round.

However, the tools available to Google Trends allow one to look at data obtained from Google searches and determine exactly when the interest in women's basketball - on the internet anyway - peaks and valleys. Looking at some data from a Google Trends report has led me to conclude that there are not two seasons in the universe of women's basketball - but six seasons. Some are very long, some are very short, but all appear to correlate to some specific time frame in the women's basketball world.

The Very Boring Data Part You Can Skip

On the Google Trends Page, you can choose a period of time you wish to analyze. I wanted five complete years of data, so I chose the time frame between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2012 and chose the search term "women's basketball" and asked Google to return an analysis.

When you get a report, the report breaks interest down into week-long (seven day) periods, starting with your start date and ending with your concluding date. But the odd part is that the results don't return a number a hits during the week. Google Trends normalizes the data during the time period. It assigns the highest-valued week over the five years a value of 100 and assigns the other weeks values a value based on 100 being the top.

(The week getting a value of 100 was the week of March 22, 2009 to March 28, 2009. Two weeks in 2010 (June 6 to June 19) and one week in 2009 (June 28 to July 4) received values of 7, the lowest values given to any week.)

So for any given day of the year from January 1 to December 31, I could have five normalized values to look at in the report. I simply took those five values and averaged them in order to determine a generalized level of interest for some given calendar day. (February 29, 2012 was skipped.) I then color-coded each of the values and looked for patterns.

The final result is in the display below. Unfortunately, we lose the colors. (Warning: you'll have to scroll.)

Value
Month Date (0-100)
1 1 48.8
1 2 48.4
1 3 49.0
1 4 48.8
1 5 48.8
1 6 49.2
1 7 49.2
1 8 48.4
1 9 47.2
1 10 47.4
1 11 47.4
1 12 47.4
1 13 47.8
1 14 47.8
1 15 42.4
1 16 43.2
1 17 44.4
1 18 45.2
1 19 45.2
1 20 46.2
1 21 46.2
1 22 45.4
1 23 45.4
1 24 44.0
1 25 44.6
1 26 44.6
1 27 43.4
1 28 43.4
1 29 43.0
1 30 42.0
1 31 41.8
2 1 41.2
2 2 41.2
2 3 41.0
2 4 41.0
2 5 41.0
2 6 41.4
2 7 41.2
2 8 39.8
2 9 39.8
2 10 41.2
2 11 41.2
2 12 41.6
2 13 42.6
2 14 43.0
2 15 43.6
2 16 43.6
2 17 43.6
2 18 43.6
2 19 44.8
2 20 44.0
2 21 44.2
2 22 44.4
2 23 44.4
2 24 43.8
2 25 43.8
2 26 45.4
2 27 48.6
2 28 51.2
3 1 53.8
3 2 56.4
3 3 56.4
3 4 57.6
3 5 57.6
3 6 58.8
3 7 60.6
3 8 62.8
3 9 64.6
3 10 64.6
3 11 65.4
3 12 65.4
3 13 66.6
3 14 67.8
3 15 70.8
3 16 73.2
3 17 73.2
3 18 76.2
3 19 76.2
3 20 79.2
3 21 80.4
3 22 84.0
3 23 85.8
3 24 85.8
3 25 81.4
3 26 81.4
3 27 77.4
3 28 74.0
3 29 68.6
3 30 64.0
3 31 64.0
4 1 64.4
4 2 64.4
4 3 66.0
4 4 65.4
4 5 62.2
4 6 62.2
4 7 62.2
4 8 53.0
4 9 53.0
4 10 42.2
4 11 34.8
4 12 26.4
4 13 15.6
4 14 15.6
4 15 15.8
4 16 15.8
4 17 15.0
4 18 14.8
4 19 14.2
4 20 14.0
4 21 14.0
4 22 13.2
4 23 13.2
4 24 12.8
4 25 12.4
4 26 12.2
4 27 12.0
4 28 12.0
4 29 12.0
4 30 12.0
5 1 11.6
5 2 11.6
5 3 11.6
5 4 11.4
5 5 11.4
5 6 11.2
5 7 11.2
5 8 10.8
5 9 10.8
5 10 10.6
5 11 10.4
5 12 10.4
5 13 10.2
5 14 10.2
5 15 10.8
5 16 10.8
5 17 10.6
5 18 10.6
5 19 10.6
5 20 10.6
5 21 10.6
5 22 10.0
5 23 10.2
5 24 10.0
5 25 9.8
5 26 9.8
5 27 9.6
5 28 9.6
5 29 9.6
5 30 9.4
5 31 9.6
6 1 9.8
6 2 9.8
6 3 10.2
6 4 10.2
6 5 10.2
6 6 9.8
6 7 10.0
6 8 10.2
6 9 10.2
6 10 10.2
6 11 10.2
6 12 10.4
6 13 10.4
6 14 10.2
6 15 10.0
6 16 10.0
6 17 10.0
6 18 10.0
6 19 9.8
6 20 10.0
6 21 10.0
6 22 10.6
6 23 10.6
6 24 10.6
6 25 10.6
6 26 10.6
6 27 10.8
6 28 10.4
6 29 10.2
6 30 10.2
7 1 10.4
7 2 10.4
7 3 10.2
7 4 10.2
7 5 10.4
7 6 10.2
7 7 10.2
7 8 9.8
7 9 9.8
7 10 10.0
7 11 10.0
7 12 10.2
7 13 10.2
7 14 10.2
7 15 10.6
7 16 10.6
7 17 10.6
7 18 10.6
7 19 10.4
7 20 10.4
7 21 10.4
7 22 10.0
7 23 10.0
7 24 10.0
7 25 10.2
7 26 10.4
7 27 10.4
7 28 10.4
7 29 10.2
7 30 10.2
7 31 10.2
8 1 9.8
8 2 9.8
8 3 11.0
8 4 11.0
8 5 11.6
8 6 11.6
8 7 11.6
8 8 11.8
8 9 11.6
8 10 14.8
8 11 14.8
8 12 14.8
8 13 14.8
8 14 14.8
8 15 14.8
8 16 14.8
8 17 16.0
8 18 16.0
8 19 15.8
8 20 15.8
8 21 17.0
8 22 17.4
8 23 18.0
8 24 13.4
8 25 13.4
8 26 14.2
8 27 14.2
8 28 13.6
8 29 13.2
8 30 13.0
8 31 11.6
9 1 11.6
9 2 11.6
9 3 11.6
9 4 12.0
9 5 12.0
9 6 12.0
9 7 12.2
9 8 12.2
9 9 12.2
9 10 12.2
9 11 12.0
9 12 12.4
9 13 12.4
9 14 13.0
9 15 13.0
9 16 12.8
9 17 12.8
9 18 13.0
9 19 13.0
9 20 13.2
9 21 13.0
9 22 13.0
9 23 13.2
9 24 13.2
9 25 13.2
9 26 13.4
9 27 13.2
9 28 12.8
9 29 12.8
9 30 12.6
10 1 12.6
10 2 12.6
10 3 12.8
10 4 13.0
10 5 13.6
10 6 13.6
10 7 14.2
10 8 14.2
10 9 15.2
10 10 15.2
10 11 15.8
10 12 15.8
10 13 15.8
10 14 16.2
10 15 16.2
10 16 16.6
10 17 16.8
10 18 17.2
10 19 18.0
10 20 18.0
10 21 18.4
10 22 18.4
10 23 19.0
10 24 19.6
10 25 19.8
10 26 19.6
10 27 19.6
10 28 20.4
10 29 20.4
10 30 23.0
10 31 24.6
11 1 25.8
11 2 27.4
11 3 27.4
11 4 29.2
11 5 29.2
11 6 32.2
11 7 33.8
11 8 35.4
11 9 37.2
11 10 37.2
11 11 40.8
11 12 40.8
11 13 49.0
11 14 52.2
11 15 54.8
11 16 57.8
11 17 57.8
11 18 57.2
11 19 57.2
11 20 52.8
11 21 50.0
11 22 47.6
11 23 46.2
11 24 46.2
11 25 45.8
11 26 45.8
11 27 44.8
11 28 45.8
11 29 45.8
11 30 45.8
12 1 45.8
12 2 45.6
12 3 45.6
12 4 44.8
12 5 44.0
12 6 43.8
12 7 41.8
12 8 41.8
12 9 39.2
12 10 39.2
12 11 36.6
12 12 35.4
12 13 34.4
12 14 34.6
12 15 34.6
12 16 35.4
12 17 35.4
12 18 37.6
12 19 42.2
12 20 43.0
12 21 42.0
12 22 42.0
12 23 41.4
12 24 41.4
12 25 40.0
12 26 39.2
12 27 39.4
12 28 42.2
12 29 42.2
12 30 44.2
12 31 44.2



The Seasons

Winter: mid-April to mid-October. This is the period when the internet's interest in women's basketball appears minimum. (It pretty much coincides with baseball season.)

There is a brief stirring in mid-August of an interest in women's basketball, but it goes dormant again. The mid-August data bump could just be random, a good time period out of the five years bumping up some collection of points around it. Other theories include that this could be when the WNBA regular season is closing and interest in who the playoff teams are is high, or it could be related to the Olympics, or it could also be related to the time that colleges begin releasing their game schedules for the upcoming season.

Clearly, the benefits of people wanting to be indoors in an air-conditioned arena on a hot summer day are exaggerated. Unfortunately, the WNBA season takes place during the winter of women's basketball. In the real world, the sun might be burning bright but in the women's basketball universe, snow is on the ground in terms of internet interest.

Pre-Season: mid-October to mid-November. The WNBA Finals might provide a push, but they usually don't take place this late in the year, so most likely this is the buildup to the upcoming college season, where alums who have paid no attention to women's basketball suddenly stir and want to know what is going on with the local team. The winter is starting to thaw out a little bit, but it is still relatively cold outside. You need a coat, at least.

Season: This is from mid-November to late-February. It coincides almost exactly with the regular women's college basketball season. Temperatures are generally cold to cool. But as the season progresses you can feel things warming up and the clouds begin to part as we hit late February.

Tourney Time: A two-week "season" which is generally around the first two weeks of March. This coincides with the time of conference tournaments. It is real short sleeve weather out there and the sun is shining.

March Madness
: Another two-week "season" which is generally the last two weeks of March. It is the "hottest" of the women's basketball seasons in that there is more interest in women's basketball during this time of year than any other. The most internet interest in college basketball during the year appears to be a bump which takes place from approximately March 22 to March 24. My conclusion is that this is the opening two rounds of the NCAA tournament, where a casual watcher of women's basketball still has hope that his alma mater's team might pull an upset.

Cooldown: The last of the two-week "seasons". This takes place during the first two weeks of April. The leaves are starting to fall. The Final Four and Championships are still taking place. Why there appears to be an internet cooldown instead of a peak is hard to understand - one hypothesis could be that the hardcore alumni devoted to certain teams lose a bit of pluck when their team gets eliminated.

Even after the Final Four/Championship which usually takes place in very early April, there are all sorts of awards to be given out, just enough to keep interest alive. But the gradient of interest collapses in mid-April almost as if a switch has been flipped. The drop in interest in women's basketball between the end of March and the end of April is astonishing.

(* * *)

For WNBA fans, this might be disheartening, to learn that you're living in Norway instead of Aruba. However, I feel none of the cold of this so-called "winter". Winter can be just as joyous a time of year as summer if you have the right attitude. So if it is wintertime, then I intent to follow the example of Scrooge after his transformation, and keep the WNBA season in my heart at all times.


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