Supporting Women’s Sports…IRL

On Thursday, the Washington Mystics won the WNBA Championship. Just as in July of this year, when the US Women’s team won the FIFA World Cup, social media went ablaze. Endless Instagram stories were promoting the historic victory of the D.C. team, including many posts from UVA students that hail from Virginia’s metro area. I support the local pride, but there’s an enormous underlying problem here.

 

How many of those students have ever been to a WNBA team? How many of those students own WNBA merch? How many of those students turned on the TV to watch the game? How many of those students can actually name one - just one - player? Last or first name?

 

           

(Photo courtesy of @notavandal from unsplash.com) 

 Why do these questions matter? The starting salary of a WNBA player is $50,000. The starting salary of an NBA player is $580,000. The average WNBA per-game attendance is 6,700 fans. The average NBA per-game attendance is 17,900 fans. The average minimum ticket price for WNBA games is $17. The average minimum ticket price for NBA games is $50. These discrepancies don’t just exist in basketball; this is the reality of most women’s sports globally. 

 

(Photo courtesy of Markus Stephen Griffiths from unsplash.com) 

Thankfully, these statistics are changeable realities, but they won’t budge when we are complacent in our efforts. Posting doesn’t free you of responsibility. It doesn’t mean that you can wipe your hands and rest easy because you’ve done your share. Posting is a positive action, but it is certainly not enough. You could go to that game. You could buy some merch. You could turn on the TV and tune in. You could actually learn a player’s name. Yes, first and last name. The next time you feel the need to support women’s sports, do it IRL.