Baffoe: Time For An NBA-WNBA Divorce
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By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) How was your WNBA Championship party last night?
Mine was actually great, mostly because it involved some friends and me watching the Blackhawks and playoff baseball instead of the WNBA’s final game of the 2011 season. As a wise friend once told me, “The only thing worse than women’s basketball is playoff women’s basketball.”
I do not find women’s basketball entertaining, as you might assume. Few, if any, women’s sports entertain me, really, and I’ll spare you any misogynistic jokes here. But those sports and their participants have their place.
I’m all for women of all ages engaging in competition that doesn’t involve violence over who gets my company on Saturday night (there’s enough Baffoe to go around for all, ladies). I’m proud to have female cousins who were great high school and collegiate athletes. I love that my dear grandmother golfs whenever she gets the chance.
But at some point everyone has to realize, though I’m sure most intelligent people have already and are just afraid to say it , no financial “fairness” needs to exist between men’s and women’s leagues on any level other than both just having the opportunity to play if economically feasible. Women’s sports do not draw viewers overall the way men’s do, particularly the biggest coed one of basketball — never have, never will.
And yet for some reason, society demands that we pretend girls are as important as boys in this regard, whether it be Title IX or a major sports network attempting to cram women’s soccer and basketball down consumer’s throats under the guise that they are some glorious, suffragist beacon of all that is right with humanity (cue the Lilith Fair band of choice). Sorry, but I’m not buying it (do not cue Insane Clown Posse song of choice, please).
Fans are not buying it either.
For the 2011 season, the WNBA saw just over 1.62 million fans show up to games (and that’s an uptick from the past). The NBA welcomed over 12 million. Most WNBA teams play in NBA arenas which have an average capacity of over 19,000, and their games average under 8,000 per game in attendance. About 270,000 fans tuned into an average WNBA game on TV this year. Just over 1.1 million tuned in to watch the Professional Bowling Assocation’s Tournament of Champions in January of this year.
But enough with the numbers. The NBA’s investment in the WNBA has proven a poor one. With the men’s league unable to turn a profit for itself, and that being a major issue of the current lockout, it seems pretty obvious that, while not the straw breaking the camel’s back, the WNBA hemorrhaging NBA cash is something that would be an easy fix by just waving goodbye to a league that contributes no talent or anything else tangible to the NBA, other than PR and PC.
And it’s not as though the ladies league has done its best to prove credible. The Detroit Shock won three of the league’s fifteen championships… and they no longer exist. The Atlanta Dream lost one of its players, Erika De Souza, this season to the Brazilian national team… in the middle of a playoff series, and that’s not the first time players have had international obligations midseason. Teams now have sponsorship on their uniforms. And while not the league’s fault, a quick Yahoo! search of “WNBA costs profits” yields a sixth result of eHow.com’s “How to Start of WNBA Franchise.”
Women deserve to play sports. Heck, they should as much as possible — fiscally possible, that is. The WNBA just is not, and it’s time the big boys and everyone else accepts that.
Should the NBA wake up and jettison its bad investment, I hope there are some private investors out there that would finance a basketball league for women, I really do. What I will not tolerate, though, is a league that takes anything away — no matter how small — from the greatest and most important basketball league in the world.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.