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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Attendance and WBB


 
WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
 
TODAY'S CARDINAL COUPLE IS FROM COLUMNIST SANDY WALKER. ALTHOUGH SHE
HAS BEEN ON HIATUS RECENTLY FROM REGULAR COLUMN CONTRIBUTIONS...SHE WAS
WITH US IN THE BEGINNING AND STILL STAYS IN TOUCH WITH THE STAFF VIA E-MAILS.
SHE HAS ALWAYS PROVIDED US WITH A GENUINE AND CLEAR DESCRIPTION OF HER POSITION ON VARIOUS ISSUES AND WE GREATLY APPRECIATE TODAY'S OBSERVATION.
 
WE HAVE CHOSEN TO RUN HER COMMENTARY IN ITS ENTIRETY AND WELCOME YOUR RESPONSES AND DISCUSSION OF IT IN OUR COMMENTS SECTION OR BY E-MAIL TO US AT:
 
 
WITH NO FURTHER ADIEU, HERE'S SANDY'S PIECE:
 
 
 
 
As a lifelong player, coach and supporter of women’s basketball it is without pleasure that I predict that without a change, history will show this decade to be looked upon as the coming of another dark age in collegiate women's basketball.  I fear that its growth in popularity will show stagnation due to the continued disparity between the University of Connecticut and the remaining teams.    I truly believe that it is not good for the game as fans do not continue watching contests which are blow outs game after game and year after year.  It also has become increasingly difficult to justify the situation to potential when trying to attract new fans.  We can point out that the “one and done” of the men’s game stops the situation from occurring which now exists in the women’s game but valid explanations do not offset the boredom of  watching the non-competitive games.

 

We absolutely want the women’s game to lead to graduations of the players and that should not change, but the current situation is not just bad for other teams but it appears that it is also not a positive for Connecticut either.  Depending upon how the numbers are crunched it appears that attendance even at UConn is declining (See The Hartford Courant's March 19, 2012  article by Jeff Jacobs: Drop In Women's Tourney Attendance...) http://articles.courant.com/2012-03-19/sports/hc-jacobs-column-0319-20120319_1_geno-auriemma-uconn-women-uconn-figures which if these statistics hold true would be of no surprise as I and my friends find monotonous lop-sided games to be very difficult to watch as the lack of a competitive atmosphere is just not enjoyable.  

 

The beginning of this decade found the sport continuing to grow in popularity with a ongoing influx of first time fans, including player’s boyfriends and adult men, discovering the women's game.    In order to continue the uptick pattern the sport must produce a competitive and enjoyable product that is without a pre-ordained year after year winner.

 

Women’s basketball survived the dominance of Tennessee as it was less of a detriment than the current situation with UConn for it was during a period where Tennessee's skill level brought first time media and fans outside of Tennessee attention to the game.   Tennessee's dominance included a period of time where, despite the passage of Title IX in the 1970's, many college women were happy that their school fielded a team at all, much less a nationally competitive one so their dominance was less of an issue than it is today. 

 

Earlier years showed most women's team audiences to be primarily composed of relatives, friends and local community supporters who did not quit following the game when their team did not perform at levels where rankings were of concern.  This is not true in today's world where potential fans have many choices of events and sports to either attend or view through their electronics.   To keep their attention a good entertainment product is a requirement that repetitive 25 point wins do not provide as was exhibited by a friend who annually attends the final 4 games decision to depart very early from this year’s championship game. 

 

The NCAA and others are looking in many directions to find ways to not only maintain current fan interest but also to again grow the game.   Even with many reviews and adjustments by the NCAA, in reality I believe the direction of this decade's women's college basketball is in the hands of today's high school players and their parents.  Will too many of the top high school players continue down the well trodden automated path and choose to become another cog in the UConn  machine or instead will they choose the path less traveled where break out stars ( where as examples) North Carolina's Diamond DeShields, and Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne can forever be known for putting their school back into conversation, excitement and national title hunt.  
 
Only history will tell but I believe that more parity in the sport is desperately needed or many of our current and potential future fans will look elsewhere for events which are less predictable. 

 
Sandy W.


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WE ALSO WANTED TO RUN THIS PICTURE OF MY LONGTIME BUDDY "BIG AL"...REPRESENTING IN HIS CARDINAL COUPLE SHIRT. LOOKING GOOD, AMIGO!

 
 
 

10 comments:

  1. Your article makes some very good points. I am assuming u are a Louisville fan. You have it good there. I root for another team. A team that was in the BIG EAST and is now in the ACC. Our program struggles to get 2000 a game, regardless of the opponent and we play in a place that can hold at least 10 times that amount. We have a dynamic coach, have had successes and marquee players but people simply do not flock to watch the women's game.

    It is disturbing and disappoining. Like Louisville, we have no pro sports to deter our program or share attendance choices with. We figured the move to the ACC would boost attendance. It did a bit but not much.

    I wish there were answers. I feel for the players who come back from trips where the crowds were awesome and huge and then have to defend their home court in fromt of so few.

    Enjoy your successes in drawing in fans.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This week's "Softball Spotlight" will feature senior pitcher Rachel LeCoq. It starts at 1pm. You can ask questions to Rachel by sending them to the @UofLSoftball twitter account.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I commented on the issue of big time recruits riding on the coattails of previous players back when it was announced that Mercedes Russell committed to UT. I understand wanting to go to college where there is a possibility of winning 4 NCAA championships but I wish more high caliber players (for example Shoni and Sara) would choose to blaze their own trail and help put their mark on a program's emergence as a national power.

    Maybe Geno could help. During an interview at the NCAA tournament, he said he missed the feeling of being the underdog. Maybe he could take the head coaching job at Podunk U and let UConn slip back into anonymity!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations to A j'a Wilson for taking the path less traveled.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I didn't even bother to watch much of Uconns games, when I did it was maybe half a game. The players make it easy to coach that's for sure as compared to Walz who has to come up with big game plans and a lot of exciting games. I think that's why people want to watch his games, to see if he can pull off that exciting win, Baylor game was the best ever out of any sports I watched, and I watch it all.--Umatilla23

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had a discussion today with someone who read today's article and stands fast to the belief that the main way to grow attendance in WBB is to get someone to go who has never been before and is a basketball fan in general.

    I'd have to say I agree partially. Maybe not the main way....I think your product also has to be one that people want to see ( i.e. winning records, marquee players, interesting coaches) but I probably could not count accurately the number of people who have told me that they never realized how fun it is to attend a WBB game until they actually went to one. Most of them keep coming back and tell friends.

    Paulie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We absolutely need to commit to encouraging new potential fans to attend a game. In fact I would suggest that we also offer to pick them up and bring them to the game -whatever it takes...to grow the game.

      I think the focus of this article was geared more towards keeping the fans that the women already have as it is known that in sales it is less costly of money and energy to keep current customers you have than it is to acquire new ones.

      Delete
  7. Last year Val Ackerman was commissioned by the NCAA to complete a formal study of the problems & potential solutions with D1 WCBB. Here is a link to the summary and there is a link on that site to the complete report. It's well worth reading if you have the time and patience to wade through all 52 pages.

    Ackerman isn't my favorite person but she is a Stern disciple, was responsible for the launch of the WNBA and is now commissioner of the Big East. She has a world of experience when it comes to women's amateur and pro roundball. It's not a pretty picture but there are some interesting approaches suggested.

    http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-women/article/2013-06-17/ackerman-s-white-paper-outlines-recommendations-spark-growt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a very good read and I looked at it when it came out last year. Be warned, it does take awhile to get through.

      Paulie

      Delete
    2. Agreed that it is a long report but an interesting one. To that point here is a link ( which hopefully will open) where the report is summarized which also has a link to the report which hopefully will open as the one I tried from above refused to provide the page.

      http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-women/article/2013-06-17/ackerman-s-white-paper-outlines-recommendations-spark-growt

      Delete

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