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Volume 26 No. 65
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Mystics' Delle Donne Calls For Better WNBA Marketing, Visibility

Delle Donne (r) said there is still a lot of people out there that don’t know the WNBA exists
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

WNBA Washington Mystics F Elena Delle Donne "realizes that despite her growing legacy in women’s basketball, few American sports fans even know her name, much less those of the league’s multitude of other stars," according to Ben Pope of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Delle Donne has "identified tangible, fixable reasons" for that beyond the "popular opinion that women’s sports just can’t hold fan interest." All 82 games from the NBA Summer League were "televised on either the ESPN networks" or NBA TV, and during that same period, only "four of the WNBA’s 26 games appeared on those channels." Delle Donne said, “We need way more marketing. ... There’s still a lot of people out there that don’t know the WNBA exists, don’t know when our season is. So we’ve got to get it out there and make people aware that we’re here.” Delle Donne said that her decision to speak out is "driven partially by the realization that the WNBA’s audience has not improved nearly as fast as its product has over the past six years." The WNBA is "taking some steps to expand its visibility, such as hiring brand consultant group Sylvain Labs to evaluate the league’s marketing strategy." Chicago Sky Owner Michael Alter last month said that the league "expects to create a more comprehensive long-term marketing plan by this winter." But Alter added that the league’s efforts are "hindered by the 'still terrible' lack of media attention." Delle Donne said, "It’s tough to be a WNBA fan: You have to seek out our games, seek out our players, do your research to know about us" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/24).

NORTH STARS: In Minneapolis, Rochelle Olson notes the WNBA All-Star Game will be played at Target Center on Saturday, but the event "doesn’t come with the claims of reaping millions in local revenue" like the Super Bowl or Final Four. However, tourism authority Meet Minneapolis Dir of PR & Communications Kathy McCarthy said that getting people to Minnesota "does have an economic benefit." For T'Wolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson, this week is a "prime time to show off" Target Center’s $140M renovation, completed in '17. Casson: “We feel like this is a celebration” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/24).