Women in sports are coming together. This week eight leagues –a list that includes the WNBA, National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL), and the U.S. Tennis Association — announced they were joining forces to form SheIS, an initiative designed to increase demand for women’s professional sports in North America. Women’s professional sports clearly do not attract the attention given to men’s professional leagues. So, perhaps by sharing resources women can close this gap.
In a sense, this approach seems consistent with something Adam Silver — the NBA’s commissioner — said about the WNBA. Silver recently repeated (yes, he has said this before) his observation that the WNBA is simply not doing enough to connect to young women. According to Silver, if the WNBA did a better job of marketing it would become more successful. In other words, Silver seems to think the issues facing the WNBA could be solve by the WNBA simply trying harder.
Elena Delle Donne — who stars for the Washington Mystics — was quick to respond to this criticism via twitter:
Silver and Delle Donne both agree that marketing is an issue for the WNBA. Where they differ is that Silver seems to think the issue is the quality of the WNBA’s marketing efforts. For Delle Donne, the issue is clearly the quantity of these efforts.
Whether the issue is quality or quantity, there is yet another more important issue facing the WNBA. And it’s the same issue facing all the women’s sports leagues who have come together for the SheIS movement.