Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Saturday, June 06, 2009

From Jeff Metcalf and the Arizona Republic: Recession heightens challenges for WNBA
The WNBA is a teenager this year confronting decidedly adult issues.

Because the parent NBA, and the sports industry in general, is being squeezed by a global recession, the women's professional basketball league is facing perhaps the most critical season of its 13-year existence.

The WNBA begins play this recession-impacted season with its fewest franchises in seven years, and teams have cut rosters by two players to save money. The owner of at least one franchise has said his team must double attendance this season to survive.
I'm glad they talked to Val Ackerman for this piece, 'cause while one of the reasons I love and support the W is the social and political aspect (and why I so often want to slap the Lib and the Donna upside the head), it still is business. Said Val once, when talking about Title IX: "There is no law that says you have to have the WNBA."

Which is why I like Nancy Lieberman's stump speech:
“I can’t tell you how many times I give speeches,” recounted Lieberman, “and I ask the audience, ‘Okay, who here wants the WNBA?’ And almost every woman raises her hand. ‘And who wants equality in sports and business?’ And every woman raises her hand.’ And then I say, “Okay, how many of you have season tickets for the local college team?” Not even a third of the people there raise their hands.

And then I ask, ‘Okay, now how many of you have Coach purses? Louis Vuitton? Chanel?’ And everybody raises their hands. And I say, ‘One less purse, and you could be a season ticket holder for Arizona State University basketball. See how it works? I mean think about it! Don’t sit there and say men are holding us back when you don’t reach into your pocket. Decide you’re going to have two less fancy-shmancy meals this year and buy season tickets. If you’re not going to do it, if women who love women’s athletics don’t buy season tickets, why should the person who’s really not that passionate buy them?” challenged Lieberman. “Women have to support women.”