The WNBA is Blowing it


“You only get one shot at your chance to blow”, a famous line by native Detroit rapper Eminem.  While his intentions were referring to making it big, the term can be used in a negative connotation as well. That is precisely what is happening in the WNBA at this very moment.

The WNBA has notoriously been a money losing league.  Funded by the NBA and kept alive because of some moral obligation. For the first time in their existence they have the preverbal “All Eyes On Them”. Ratings are going through the roof with new customers sampling the game. This is their one shot!

In marketing we call it the “Funnel”:

  • Awareness. Regardless of the marketing funnel stage in use, it begins with awareness.
  • Consideration. As the lead leaves the awareness stage, they move into the consideration phase.
  • Conversion.
  • Loyalty.
  • Advocacy

We are well into the awareness stage and now people are considering whether or not they want to convert their habit into including the WNBA as part of their daily life. Basketball fans are curious.

But, despite having all the eyes and attention they are failing to deliver on the basketball end of basketball.  Instead the WNBA has chosen to focusing on being more WWE entertainment.

When I turn on any sports network, I’m not seeing great basketball plays. I’m seeing a lot of bumping and jawing going on.  While that’s fun in the immediate, if the WNBA wants true long term fans they still need to focus on the Basketball Product.  In that aspect they are “blowing” it. Instead of showcasing great talent we get to tune into a Telenovela.

Caitlin Clack Effect on the WNBA

The Caitlin Clark vs Everybody will have short legs and eventually the side show will ware thin and we will be right back to square one with viewership and interest.

This feels very much like the last Hail Mary effort by the WNBA to just try to remain in the conversation.  They know their product alone cant drive ratings, that has been proven.  So now throw in some Soap Opera story lines and hope you can attract an audience.

The WNBA might be getting it right, after all they are a business and they should be trying to turn a revenue. If the only way to do that is by making this move, then who am I to question it? But, lets not pretend why they have to go this route.  The product cant sustain on basketball alone.