OT: If we don’t cover the WNBA, who will?

2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones (second from left) is introduced as the New York Liberty’s newest addition on January 23. Photo provided by Kostas Lymperopoulos / New York Liberty.

Kobe Mosley | Editorial Director | kmosley@butler.edu

What team did WNBA MVP Jonquil Jones Play before signing with New York Liberty? Why is there a controversy between forward Derekah Hamby and the Las Vegas Aces organisation? whose former teammate was the basketball legend Candace Parker only reunion with?

If you are not exploited in posts like next one or WNBA TwitterYou probably don’t know the answer to any of these questions. These are just a few examples of the huge storylines surrounding the WNBA offseason – storylines that should quickly spread around the sports media. However, finding any analysis or coverage outside of a 200-word article or a one-minute segment on television is a futile endeavor.

why is that? It is a question filled with loaded answers. The common logistical answer is that the WNBA’s fan base is not as large as the NBA’s fan base, so the amount of coverage is proportional to the number of people searching for that information. However, the problem with this answer is that it doesn’t answer the question of how the WNBA is supposed to gain more viewership if there isn’t enough coverage like the other professional sports leagues.

in study Carried out by researchers Cheryl Cooke, Michael Meisner, and Robin Heckstrom in 2019, it found that 95% of all television coverage, including ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” focused on men’s sports. The virtually non-existent coverage of women’s sports is unacceptable. Using the WNBA as an example, the amount of coverage they receive in season and off season compared to the NBA is grossly disproportionate. In Cooky et. In al’s report, it has been found that the NBA receives significantly more coverage during their off season than the WNBA when they are in season.

The WNBA season runs from May to September. During the inversion of the regular season, following the end of the NBA postseason, the only other major sports were baseball and hockey.

Sports media chief Jeffrey Nelson argues that this is when the WNBA should have more televised games.

“I think in terms of television, [media outlets] You should do a better job of just showing the games,” Nelson said. “I feel in terms of the arrangement [on shows] During the season… he goes to the NBA playoffs, the NBA Finals, and then they’re going to play baseball, and then they’re going to do the hockey playoffs and then they’re going to play the NBA. By then, if you’re at SportsCenter, folks [are already] Maybe tuned. ESPN could do a better job of showing the WNBA early on in their segments and on their episodes of SportsCenter and everything like that. “

The WNBA is trying to make it easier for outlets to broadcast their games simply by adding more games to the schedule. This year, the regular season game total will increase from 36 to 40 per team. Last season, 25 games during the regular season, plus the entire postseason, it was Nationally televised via ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC. As more games are added to the schedule, there is a chance that number will rise. The fact that games are being broadcast nationally at all is a sign of progress, but there are still the majority of games that are still down to WNBA League Pass and Facebook Live.

Sports media chief Ben Wheeler watches many NBA games during a given week. He acknowledges that the ease and accessibility of watching the NBA is what draws him to watch the games constantly, while the opposite is true for watching the WNBA.

“I mean…the NBA has its own channel,” Wheeler said. “It’s crazy because the WNBA doesn’t have its own channel, but you can watch an NBA game every night. Whether it’s your team [that is playing] Or not, you have three networks covering the NBA. You have ESPN…the NBA games are set on Wednesdays and Fridays, they have ABC Sundays and then TNT has them on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So it’s just amazing how many NBA games are accessible.”

Of course, time has been on the NBA’s side when it comes to building viewership. Being half a century older than the WNBA meant that the NBA was able to build on top of its ground level fan base, something the WNBA still has in the works. And while some believe that the viewing problem has something to do with Not caringIt is mainly due to a lack of respect for the reward of women in sports.

Chief Strategic Communications Duncan Stone admits he doesn’t watch the WNBA regularly — which is fine, and that’s not a crime — but he remembers watching it as a kid and seeing the irregularities in the respect these athletes get compared to their male counterparts.

“I grew up with the Sacramento Monarchs before they left, and I remember watching those games,” Stone said. “I would go to some of these games and they were really fun but I never felt they were being treated right like they were professional athletes… I felt like they were on the verge of [seen] as a second layer.

in Article for USC NewsCookie claims the WNBA has been able to take advantage of the sport’s resurgence during the pandemic, but she doesn’t want to fully announce yet that this will be a springboard for women’s sports.

“Before the pandemic, many fans took sports for granted; it is now clear how much we depend on sports for entertainment and as a form of escape,” Cookie said in the article.

“While the WNBA successfully tapped into the crowd’s and media’s thirst for sports over the summer, the media’s efforts to return to what is considered ‘normal’ may once again trump mathematics. It remains to be seen if this moment in history will force a media reimagining. Its coverage of women’s sports”.

So, are you still wondering which team Jonquil Jones left, what the drama was with Derekah Hamby and Ice or who Candace Parker met with? It’s okay, you’re not alone. You can try to look for the answers, or you can help amplify the call for more effort and airtime dedicated to women’s sports.

Like Ari Chambers always says“,” The WNBA is very important. But how do you know that no one is telling you why?

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