SBD/June 3, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Skylar Diggins Discusses Pressures Of WNBA Stardom; League Attendance Trending Up

Diggins is reluctant to assume instant stardom as a rookie
WNBA Shock G Skylar Diggins is “trying to come to grips with how much her job demands away from the court,” according to Shannon Ryan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Diggins' "whirlwind orientation to the working class includes meetings with her agency, rapper Jay Z's Roc Nation, meet-and-greets with Shock fans, representing the Nike brand and being billed as one of the WNBA's 'Three to See.'" She said, "I would have to say it's five to 10 times crazier now than in college. Jumping into this world has been crazy. Sometimes I want to focus on basketball and not talk to anybody." As much as Diggins is “billed as the league's future” along with Mercury C Brittney Griner and Sky F Elena Delle Donne, she is “reluctant to be grouped with them and assume instant stardom as a rookie.” Diggins said, "I didn't ask for any of this 'Three to See' stuff. I thought the 'Three to See' was just in college. It can cause some friction (with other players). Nobody said anything directly. I don't know how that looks. I respect the WNBA and its veterans" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/2).

TRENDING UP: In Seattle, Jayda Evans noted attendance numbers from the WNBA's opening weekend “already point to a revival.” The six games over Memorial Day weekend saw a 2.7% year-over-year attendance increase and arenas filled to 85% capacity. However, many teams “only sell lower-bowl seats in their NBA arenas.” The WNBA's website had “2.2 million page views and the league's YouTube channel had 635,000 views.” Griner's two dunks in the Mercury's opening game had "the most clicks, at 177,541 by Friday afternoon” (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/2).

WHY NO LOVE? In DC, Sally Jenkins wrote under the header, "Women’s Basketball Needs To Work To Earn An Audience." Jenkins: “Why is a sport with strong audience fundamentals such a chronic underachiever in the marketplace? There are 3.2 million high school girls playing varsity sports in this country, and anywhere from 2 to 4 million people annually watch the women’s NCAA Final Four on TV. Yet the sport is floundering.” There is "no reason the game shouldn't attract large sponsors and grow." It has "huge participation numbers, a passionate and loyal fan base and attractive competitors” (WASHINGTON POST, 6/1).
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