I have been following several WNBA Blogs. I found one that has some interesting entries: Pleasant Dreams – An Atlanta Dream Blog
It is worth checking out. It contains really good info about their favorite team, but also good info about “stuff” concerning the league in general, other teams and their players as well.
One entry that was of particular interest is: Arena Rent: $15,000/Game?
The basic premise of the article is one of the biggest concerns that faces the WNBA… Money.
This has always been the problem/challenge in the WNBA… What is termed “local expenses”. When the business model was such that NBA teams owned the WNBA teams collectively it was less challenging to break even. Still challenging, but less than it is now. I don’t claim to know the numbers, but how many teams in the WNBA are breaking even or making a profit?, two?, three? Who knows, but definitely not 11.
One potential solution and one that would help in PR and improved image for the NBA, NBA players and the NBA players association is to have every player in the NBA donate one (1) game salary to the WNBA. Here me out… Don’t start screaming at the computer. I haven’t done the numbers or math exactly, but generally speaking: 30 NBA teams, 13 players per team (390 players). What’s the average salary in the NBA?… 900K (very low end). 351 million total. 82 game season… 4.3 million (very low end) to donate. I know it’s much higher with the likes of the “one-game” salaries of Kobe, LeBron, etc… Divide that equally between 11 WNBA teams… $390,000.00 each. Roughly. It doesn’t cover everything, but it’s a nice chunk, it’s great PR for the NBA players and league and it helps keep the “W” afloat. Want to make a bigger PR splash, let the NBA players decide how many games salary they want to donate, but make the minimum one. Guys will give up one game check for positive PR, some give up more than that in fines, suspensions, etc. Heck, you might fund the whole league that way. You know guys: ego, competition… it’s a good thing.
Money, in the end, will sink the WNBA… or more precisely – not enough of it. The basketball is good enough, the time of year is good, everything is good enough, the marketing, the product, the game atmosphere, the way the players act, the way the league has embraced and respected the fans… it’s all good enough… except the money. I’m not talking player salaries, that’s another discussion. Resorting to “selling” your team name on the front of your jersey isn’t a good sign, but it appears it’s necessary to survive.
Since the inception of Title IX there have been over 20 Women’s Professional Basketball leagues…. only one has made it past year 3… the WNBA. David Stern, Val Ackerman, now Donna Orender and the rest of the WNBA folks know what they are doing. It has survived this long.
In it’s 13th year the WNBA has proved it is for real. Can it withstand this economy and the bottom line? I hope so.