In 1972, “Title IX, the 1972 Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act” (Stevenson, 2007, p. 486, Abstract) was passed. This law mandated that female students be given equal access to all activities, including sports (Stevenson, 2007) Since then, the presence and impact of women’s sports has been on a great rise. However, more needs to be done to ensure that female athletes are treated fairly.
The WNBA is already the most successful women’s sports league in the world, and that is an indicator of progress (NBA.com, 2012). Three WNBA teams made a profit in 2011: The Minnesota Lynx, The Connecticut Sun, and the San Antonio Silver Stars (Scott, 2011). The Lynx are also estimated to have profited this year (Dunbar, 2013). The Indiana Fever have accomplished the same for the first time (Schoettle, 2013). However, it does not do for the league’s supporters to rest on their laurels just yet. Before the WNBA can become its true self, it needs to become stronger. There is much that can be done to augment this process.
The advent of the WNBA was a pivotal event in the history of women’s sports. However, WNBA players don’t lead easy lives. Most of them work in America during the summer and in Europe or Australia (or rarely, China) during the rest of the year. They do it so that they can draw a salary comparable to that which is drawn by the men of the NBA. As a result, the players become exhausted, and they don’t get to see very much of their families. In light of this, some players of the game would rather abstain from playing in the WNBA. It is unconscionable that so many American basketball players are disenchanted by the state of their own league. Some don’t play in America at all.
Open discussion of the state of the WNBA is essential to its improvement. In order for the WNBA to become stronger, the collective voice of its supporters must likewise become louder and stronger to support their favorite teams, as well as the league.
The WNBA will also become stronger if the league’s fan base learns about and becomes involved in things that stand to benefit the league. For instance, WNBA jersey branding is not very popular. However, such a venture is a display of faith and solidarity, and should be applauded. The idea of branding NBA jerseys has gained traction in recent years (Boudway, 2012). The companies who are doing the branding want to invest in the league’s future. As such, those who support the league should invest in them. Also, while $4.99 a year for WNBA Live Access seems demanding, it stands to serve as a fiscal reserve that the league can build upon in the future. Long term planning is crucial to a business’s success.
It is essential to the future of the WNBA that the league becomes a community. Each team and its respective market must do the same. During the summer of 2013, the Minnesota Lynx and their community accomplished this to great effect. The players and staff regarded each other as a family, and that feeling of care extended to the fanbase (Ervin, 2013). In return, the fans showed appreciation for the team (Shenoy, 2013). Everyone came through for each other.
Close-knit groups can make amazing things happen. That is how revolutionary action is started and maintained. That is part of why the American Civil Rights Movement was successful (Orum and Dale, 2009). It is exactly what is needed to change things in the WNBA.