First off, I really want to like the WNBA. Back in college at OSU I worked a few women's BBall games and they were pretty cool and all, rah rah, lot more passion at times, good TEAM focus etc etc. I just had no idea who was who aside from our own players, and without any real WOW factors like extreme height/dunks/oops/girls dropping 40/night, I had trouble sticking with it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Fire (Completly forgotten about FIRE!!!)
Now the WNBA has some interesting players and some of that ever important star power, something that the NBA/NFL has really keyed in on to market itself. It's not the TEAM, it's the matchups or individual players that attract an audience more often than not. You don't see people wearing Blazers jersies with BLANK on the back or TEAM and no numbers- you rock your favorite player if you can afford it. Still, the same issues that are inherent to women's basketball are present, just not quite as prevalant. More athletes, more HUGE games/tripe double types, more taller players etc. The All-Star weekend tie ins also are kinda neat as they try and strengthen the bond between the two sides of the coin.
I think a lot can change if a certain lady by the name of Britttney Griner eventually plays for the WNBA. She can dunk. She can dominate on the boards/block shots like none other in recent memory, and is adding to her offensive game. She is TALL for a lady at 6'8''(and possibly growing I don't know) so that's always interesting to see as that's about the equavlant of a Yao Ming/Shawn Bradly type in the NBA. When she was playing in college playoffs recently it was the ONLY women's game i saw all year, and rightly so as ESPN hyped the beejeezus out of it and got me sucked in.
I also think that having a WNBA video game-that is GOOD mind you-would do wonders for the sport. Get EA/2K to whip something up for the Summer Time inbetween LIve/College games. That should create a bit more buzz around it, and with increased media coverage it just might
Another tidbit for this season is Marion Jones playing for a team. Back in teh day for North Carolina she was damn good and led them to a title, then went to the racetrack route for fame, so that's kidna interesting since she's been removed from the sport for more than a decade.
Interestingly enough, the WNBA almost tries to be like FIBA in a lot of ways(3pt line line, length of game etc) where maybe they should focus on making it more like the NBA. It's now WFIBA or something after all.. Obviously you probably can't move the 3pt line back farther than FIBA/NCAA, but perhaps make the quarters the same length as NBA(WNBA are 10min/ x 4) to help increase those numbers. People more often than not will respond to larger numbers, and it can be more comparable then to NBA. THe WNBA for 10 years had a 30sec shot clock, but finally smartened up and shifted to the NBA 24second in 2007...but maybe too little too late? So far career PPG leaders are hovering around 20ppg, rebounders arounders around 10 etc. Maybe it's a slightly more team focused game than the NBA, but those aren't really eye popping stats from supposedly the best players in the world.
So what do you think? WNBA going to make it another 5 seasons? Do you ENJOY the WNBA? Do you detest it?
Few more selected articles about the WNBA:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-05-13/why-i-love-the-wnba/ (Condi Rice loves her some WNBA)