Mainstream media coverage on women’s basketball and WNBA and how it correlates to growing the fan base

I’ve been pondering over writing this blog post and whether or not people will actually read this post. This is a topic that ever since I first became aware of women’s basketball nine years ago never seems to go away. Or have a solution. It’s one of the struggles that many great WNBA/WBB fans and passionate writers and bloggers have to face every day.

As many of us know, when it comes to sports, the four main men’s sports get all the coverage and love from both fans and media companies alike. I’m talking about the NFL (which in some parts of the United States, it’s more like a religion), the NBA (once again, in some parts of the United States and world wide, it’s also the biggest sport), the NHL (this is HUGE in Canada, and in few parts in the United States) and MLB (which is America’s favorite summer past time).

So, in turn the four main men’s sports get a huge chunk of TV money from big name media companies such as ABC, ESPN, Sportsnet and TSN(HUGE in Canada), CBS, TNT, FOXSports, etc. This leaves very little TV money to give to other sports. What gets left over goes to women and men’s tennis, NASCAR, golf, gymnastics, etc. The remaining goes to the niche sports.  Women’s college basketball and the WNBA fall into that category.

It’s not just the TV companies who pull this type of move. It’s the newspapers(although to be fair, newspapers are dying), radio, online magazines/websites, etc. They only provide in depth coverage of those four main men’s sports. They only send their major beat writers to cover those events and send their columnists to write an opinion on those games. It’s like a well oiled machine for those four main major men’s sports, not only in the US and Canada, but world wide as well.

So, what does this have to with the WNBA/women’s college basketball coverage? Well, it’s pretty obvious. If all of the TV broadcasts and media focus on just those sports, there leaves absolutely little coverage for the women’s basketball world. No major sports personality is asking questions on TV on why the WNBA does not have their official draft details out yet, even though the draft is in less than three weeks! No major columnist is talking about how the WNBA Training camp will go and which players are in good shape, etc. Because of this, the WNBA/WBB world does not have any added pressure to release their details. Nor, will they have to because no major sports person will be there to release it to the public.

This may sound like I’m being pessimistic about the coverage that there is out there, considering there are some pretty good ESPN podcasts and one good ESPN writer who covers both the WNBA/WBB which is great. There are also some very good independent websites and great podcasts out there online too. I’m not complaining about that coverage, I’m complaining about the fact the WNBA/WBB world will never have as strong as a fan base simply because the TV/media coverage is non existent compared to major sports out there.

For example, if I take my friend right now to a WNBA game between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics at the Verizon Center, and the Mystics take care of the Sun easily and win in impressive fashion, my friend is impressed. Now, they want to know how they can keep track of the Mystics. I’ll tell them all my favorite Twitter handles, my favorite independent WNBA websites and some great podcasts. They say thanks, and check them out. Now, they are hooked onto the Mystics. They can’t get enough. But, now they want more. That coverage alone isn’t enough. They want to hear the Mystics on the radio. They want their favorite major sports personality to discuss the Mystics on TV. But, sadly, they won’t get it. They won’t get it on ESPN either. My friend is now upset. They’ll still check on the Mystics once in a while to see how they are doing, and tries to attend the games, but the fan level is diminished. They are now longer obsessed. And that is one way the WNBA loses their fans.

It’s a vicious cycle. This just doesn’t apply to fans either. It applies to great talented writers and bloggers who once wrote about the WNBA and women’s college basketball, but had to drop the coverage altogether because they couldn’t make a living out of it unlike their fellow writers and columnists who cover those major men’s sports. This is such a shame because the WNBA/women’s basketball world loses those talented writers who wanted to cover the WNBA athletes and stories but couldn’t due to a lack of interest (from those major media/TV companies)

The WNBA/women’s basketball executives need to stand up and demand respect for their league and better coverage. They need to figure out how to get more than just NINE games on ESPN. They need better communication from league executives down to their fans. If ESPN can not provide the coverage they need, they need to add another TV partner. Or, get creative and figure out a new way to integrate new content. They need to push the media, both TV and newspapers to give them better access. They deserve that much. It’s time. If the league continues this way, there won’t be a league at all.

I won’t lie. There are tough days to cover the WNBA/women’s basketball world. No, this is not my day job. It’s hard getting simple releases, difficult getting easy answers, etc. But, I continue writing/tweeting about the sport simply because it deserves the coverage. I’m here to continue it while I still can. I will write for those great athletes that need their stories to be told on other women’s basketball websites. My voice will still be here. But it’s a damn shame, that we have lost so many great fans/writers due to this vicious cycle.

Women’s College Basketball Final Overall Player Rankings for 2016/2017 – Class by Class!

What a season. How time flies. Beginning of the season, I had no clue as to how the season would go. From November to March, It has been my absolute pleasure in putting up these weekly rankings. You can check out the previous week rankings here or check my archives. But, these rankings are different. It is the overall player rankings, taken from my own weekly rankings.

I designed these overall rankings into a system. Over 16 weeks, whoever had the best week against top opponents in non conference play or conference play got a nod. I didn’t just limit the players to just the power 5 schools, I also included some really good mid major ones as well as if a mid major team had a big win against a Power 5 school, I had them in as well.

So who made the cut? Who were the top 36 seniors this year? The top 27 juniors? The top 18 sophomores? The top 9 freshmen? Read below and find out!

– Aneela

SENIORS

  1. Kelsey Plum – Washington
  2. Chantel Osahor – Washington
  3. Brionna Jones – Maryland
  4. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough – Maryland
  5. Alexis Peterson – Syracuse
  6. Sydney Wiese – Oregon State
  7. Alaina Coates – South Carolina
  8. Lindsey Allen – Notre Dame
  9. Nina Davis – Baylor
  10. Tori Jankoska – Michigan State
  11. Erica McCall – Stanford
  12. Evelyn Akhator – Kentucky
  13. Alexis Jones – Baylor
  14. Nia Coffey – Northwestern
  15. Leticia Romero – Florida State
  16. Makayla Epps – Kentucky
  17. Brittney Sykes – Syracuse
  18. Brianna Day – Syracuse
  19. Adrienne Motley – Miami
  20. Karlie Samuelson – Stanford
  21. Brooke Schulte – DePaul
  22. Sophie Brunner – Arizona State
  23. Precious Hall – James Madison
  24. Jessica January – DePaul
  25. Peyton Little – Oklahoma
  26. Curtyce Knox – Texas A&M
  27. Ally Disterhoft – Iowa
  28. Seanna Johnson – Iowa State
  29. Miah Spencer – NC State
  30. Mehyrn Kraker – Green Bay
  31. Pachis Roberts – Georgia
  32. Kelsey Lang – Texas
  33. Ashley Deary – Northwestern
  34. Ronni Williams – Florida
  35. Ellen Nystrom – Colorado State
  36. Elin Gustavsson – Colorado State

JUNIORS

  1. A’ja Wilson – South Carolina
  2. Kelsey Mitchell – Ohio State
  3. Brianna Turner – Notre Dame
  4. Jordin Canada – UCLA
  5. Lexie Brown – Duke
  6. Myisha Hines-Allen – Louisville
  7. Rebecca Greenwell – Duke
  8. Diamond DeShields – Tennessee
  9. Monique Billings – UCLA
  10. Gabby Williams – Connecticut
  11. Victoria Vivians – Mississippi State
  12. Shakayla Thomas – Florida State
  13. Katelynn Flaherty – Michigan
  14. Mercedes Russell – Tennessee
  15. Brooke McCarty – Texas
  16. Mariya Moore – Louisville
  17. Kia Nurse – Connecticut
  18. Tyra Buss – Indiana
  19. Stephanie Mavunga – Ohio State
  20. Amanda Cahill – Indiana
  21. Teana Muldrow – West Virginia
  22. Kaylee Jensen – Oklahoma State
  23. Vionise Pierre – Louis – Oklahoma
  24. Khaalia Hillsman – Texas A&M
  25. Cierra Porter – Missouri
  26. Carlie Wagner – Minnesota
  27. Emily Potter – Utah

SOPHOMORES

  1. Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson
  2. Kalani Brown – Baylor
  3. Kristine Anigwe – California
  4. Hallie Thome – Michigan
  5. Kitija Laksa – South Florida
  6. Megan Gustafson – Iowa
  7. Regan Margarity – Virginia Tech
  8. Arike Ogunbowale – Notre Dame
  9. Marina Mabrey – Notre Dame
  10. Asia Durr – Louisville
  11. Jessica Shepard – Nebraska
  12. Chanette Hicks – Virginia Tech
  13. Sophie Cunningham – Missouri
  14. Jill Barta – Gonzaga
  15. Allazia Blockton – Marquette
  16. Anriel Howard – Texas A&M
  17. Beatrice Mompremier – Baylor
  18. Bridget Carleton – Iowa State

FRESHMEN

  1. Sabrina Ionescu – Oregon
  2. Ruthy Hebard – Oregon
  3. Kysre Gondrezick – Michigan
  4. Joyner Holmes – Texas
  5. Destiny Slocum – Maryland
  6. Lauren Cox – Baylor
  7. Kaila Charles – Maryland
  8. Leaonna Odom – Duke
  9. Crystal Dangerfield – Connecticut

The WNBA Draft Date is April 13th, 2017

The WNBA has not yet announced the official draft date which is a shame, since it is a month away now. Yet, over the two months, thanks to knowledgeable fans who did the research, the WNBA draft date is April 13th 2017 starting at 7 pm on ESPN2.

UPDATE: (March 13th) The WNBA Draft is officially April 13th, confirmed by two people with knowledge. However, the WNBA Draft does NOT have a location set yet, meaning the Mohegan Sun arena is out. It could be either at the ESPN studios or in New York. Check back later on this post.

If you have heard that the draft is on April 10th, you are wrong. I have listed two pieces of information that will make it clear to you that the draft indeed will be April 13th.

The first piece of information is clear. ESPN2 has it’s programming schedule set for April 13th. As you can see, below it has the draft scheduled for 7 to 8 pm on ESPN2. Don’t believe me? Take a look yourself.

If you follow this link http://espnmediazone.com/us/programming/program-schedules/#tvl_resultsAnchor, and click on April 13th, for a live event on ESPN2, you will see the WNBA Draft pop up. Also, the WNBA draft will continue from 8 pm to 9 pm on ESPNU afterwards.

Another piece of information is listed right here in the Odyssey Sims article, which clearly states..”The WNBA Draft will take place on April 13th.” http://www.wnba.com/news/sparks-acquire-odyssey-sims-trade-wings/  right on the WNBA official website itself!

I’m not sure why the league STILL has not made it official. This is NOT how the WNBA should operate. The draft date should be open three months before. So, spread the word and let everyone know for those who didn’t know before. The official draft date is April 13th 2017. The San Antonio Stars hold the #1 pick.