Intriguing nugget from the States... The first game of the WNBA Finals on Tuesday night, according to the league, had TV ratings on ESPN that were 59% up from last year. The Phoenix Mercury's 120-116 overtime victory over the Indiana Fever was the highest-scoring contest in the league's history, setting all sorts of quarter-by-quarter records and, by common consent, providing a great showcase for the women's version of the Association.
If you've never seen the WNBA, then you should. It's terrific basketball and it's a shame the NBA has never bundled it into its numerous television deals in the UK. But here's the rub. The official attendance at the American Airways Center in Phoenix was just 7,200. And that's DESPITE the fact that Suns GM, Steve Kerr, bought up 7,000 tickets and gave them away free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Now here is a league that has had some kind of national television deal since its inception. It's got the best (female) basketballers in the world. They've spent millions on marketing it, not to mention the rub it (theoretically) gets from its link with the NBA.
And yet... it's losing money, it's been losing franchises rather than adding them in recent years, and even its showpiece Finals can't draw much of a crowd.
Puts the BBL in perspective, right?