by Adrienne Goodson
This past season was real bright for the WNBA. There were new deals, new champions, and a new face to market worldwide (Candace Parker).
All of these things were hot, but there are a few areas that I would like to see improvements in. The first can take place overnight, while the second will take some time.
The lack of ethnic sponsors who represent the true make up of the league would have to be the first. This list of sponsors is fine, but brands like Essence, Ebony, Dark and Lovely, Oprah and Lifetime also need to be partners with the league. I can honestly say that since the WNBA has not put out a good campaign to start off the season since 1997. Of course, back then they were competing with the ABL so there’s the answer. I liked the commercials back in the day with Kym Hampton and Sue Wicks in the streets of New York as well as Lisa Leslie in Cali. They were funny and drove the league. It literally gave the WNBA a face and an identity in the community. They WNBA has a group of beautiful and intelligent women who should be in the public eye more often.
Second, and more importantly, I would love to see the league continually expand into an empire just like the NBA has so that aspiring coaches, trainers, equipment managers, and strength coaches have a better chance at employment in the WNBA. The league’s growth is not as rapid as the current market but with time they will create more teams. Perhaps in another 10 years the league will have 24 teams. It’s certainly not impossible and very realistic but it will take a new plan of action that includes marketing, sponsorship, and a creative developmental team to do it.
The league has been the first at many things and will continue to be a trailblazer. I am hopeful that the players will push the league as we did back in the 90’s. They make more money now and have the resources and the power to do it. They will pass the torch on and on until someone signs that first million dollar contract.
Realistically, a new campaign is due and should be led by Candace Parker, Deanna Nolan, Cappie Pondexter, Jen McCarville, Diana Taurasi and Candice Wiggins. They are the ones who will transition away from the faces of the 90’s and take the torch through the rest of this decade and into the next. Hopefully, the WNBA marketing meetings in New Jersey will be the beginning of a new trail.
The first part of the journey is now water under the bridge and it’s time to bring the league to the next level of success.