For tonight’s class, our students presented the first of two class projects. The assignment was to create a marketing plan for Washington’s WNBA team, the Mystics. Earlier in the semester, Ted Leonsis, the majority owner, spoke to our class. I asked him if the class can do a project for one of his teams. Well, the Capitals are selling out nearly every game. So, they don’t need much marketing help. But, the Mystics, on the other hand, need help, especially with ticket sales.
Overall, the eight groups of students did a pretty good job. It certainly wasn’t an easy assignment since the WNBA is having some difficulty with TV ratings and ticket sales. It’s particularly hard in city like where there’s so much competition for the entertainment dollar … Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, United, Georgetown U, U of Maryland, AU, GWU, etc. Plus, on top of that, the Kennedy Center, Warner Theatre, Shakespeare Theater, etc.
I managed AOL’s partnership with the WNBA over a 5-year period. And, I’m good friends with a number of their all-star players, including Swin Cash, Sue Bird, Ruth Riley, Alana Beard, etc. And their President, Donna Orender, is a long-time friend.
I’m a big fan of the WNBA. I’ve watched with admiration as the league continues to grow and evolve. The talent level continues to get better and better.
Lots of guys bash the WNBA and LPGA. But, the truth is, the style of play of the WNBA is how a vast majority of men play the game, r.e. rare dunks, good passing and teamwork, lots of movement and cuts. Similarly, most male golfers hit in distance much more like LPGA golfers than PGA golfers, who frequently bomb 300-yard drives.
Plus, the WNBA players are so much more gracious with their time and commitment to community service – as opposed to many of the prima donna NBA players.
Lastly, with my recent experience in Diversity and Inclusion, it’s great to see the growth of female sports. Title IX was indeed a major law that has had far-reaching impact. It’s great to see so many females being active in sports — from the youth leagues to high schools to college to professional leagues. We are all better off for it.