SBD/August 18, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Sparks' Ogwumike Says Upcoming CBA Could Address Elements To Globally Brand WNBA

Ogwumike said attracting new WNBA fans continues to be an uphill climb
Sparks F and WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike has "big plans" for the WNBA, especially as the league "heads toward what could be an industry-defining" CBA after the '19 season, according to Tyler Blint-Welsh of the L.A. TIMES. Her vision is "that of a global brand, with NBA-sized followings in markets worldwide." To accomplish that goal, she said that the new CBA "must address critical elements such as marketing, player housing and travel, ticket sales and in-arena entertainment." Ogwumike: "Sometimes I feel like the WNBA puts (itself) in a box, and we need to jump outside of the box." Blint-Welsh notes since peaking at 10,864 in '98, the league’s average per-game attendance has "steadily dropped, hitting a low of 7,318" in '15. Last year’s average "rose slightly, to 7,655, but televised games draw audiences less than 20% of the size of an NBA game, on average, and half of the league’s 12 teams lose money." Ogwumike said that "much of the problem ... is that WNBA players aren’t recognizable figures." She added that until the league and its players "join in an offseason promotional effort, attracting and retaining new fans will continue to be an uphill climb."  But Ogwumike "hinted that some of the league’s players don’t see the value of collaboration" (L.A. TIMES, 8/17).
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