June 17, 2013

Women's basketball and The Narrative.

Something that doesn't fit well into The Narrative is that the current feminist era is now well into its fifth decade, so we've gone through numerous cycles already.

In The Narrative, however, differences between men and women are due to the benightedness of the sexist past, which lasted until yesterday. But we know the Future will be different, because it's never been tried before.

Yet, if you can remember the past, you can recall many media whoop-tee-doos that haven't panned out in the long run. For example, women's basketball was a media sensation at the 1976 Olympics, then at the 1984 Olympics in L.A., and then, most heavily, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, which sparked a 1990s boomlet in women's college and pro basketball.

But the collapse of the Soviet Union has left the U.S. without a formidable rival (the last time the U.S. women lost the gold medal was to the ex-Soviet "combined team" in 1992). And without nationalism to spark interest, women's basketball isn't very interesting. Thus women's college basketball is hunting around for ways to get more popular now that the novelty has worn off and it has settled into a largely lesbian niche audience sport.

From the NYT:
To increase stagnant interest in women’s college basketball, a former prominent official has recommended wide experimentation with the rules and the N.C.A.A. tournament, including holding the men’s and women’s Final Four at the same location on a one-time trial basis.

After a six-month study, Val Ackerman, a former president of USA Basketball and the W.N.B.A., recommended that the N.C.A.A. also hold the women’s Final Four on the weekend after the men’s tournament to gauge its effects on the game’s popularity. 
She also recommended that the women’s Final Four be held in the same city for multiple years, just as the college baseball World Series is held annually in Omaha, Neb. 
As a further way to enhance competitive balance, Ackerman said that some of the coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners she interviewed had advised reducing scholarships to 13 per team from 15. (The other two scholarships could be used to finance other women’s teams.) 
Some officials also recommended to Ackerman that the season be shortened to one semester. One possibility is to begin the women’s season after college football’s regular season and end it after the men’s N.C.A.A. tournament.

Seems reasonable. Football is the 800 pound gorilla of college sports, so why go head to head with that? Men's basketball is the 400 pound orang-utan of college sports, so why not draft off that? And a one-semester sport is better academically.
To address declines in shooting and scoring, Ackerman advised that the rules should be re-examined to speed the game, reduce the physicality and make it easier for teams to score. She advised that a kind of rules laboratory be created to consider radical suggestions, such as one by Coach Geno Auriemma of Connecticut that the rim be lowered to 9 feet from 10 feet. 

Nah, too many basketball rims around the country aren't adjustable. A smaller ball is a cheap way to get all the advantages of a lower rim -- except dunking, and even on a 9' rim, women can't dunk without a smaller ball they can control with one hand. (Also, I doubt if many NCAA players could realistically dunk on a 9' rim. Probably 8'9" would be necessary.)

And why switch to an above the rim game that only blacks could be good at? Keep it a below the rim sport that's more racially integrated than the men's game and it will do okay by appealing to white dads with tall daughters. There are a lot of college sports that putter along okay because they appeal to high income jockish fathers. Nobody much cares about women's college golf except for the fathers of the players, but that's not a bad little demographic all by itself.

The basketball is too big for women. I believe the official NCAA women's ball is 29" in circumference compared to 30" for the men's ball, and it weights 20 ounces versus 22 ounces. But women's hands are not, on average, 29/30ths as large as men's hands, and women don't have 20/22nd of the upper body strength. A women's basketball not much bigger than a volleyball, but a little denser so that it wouldn't get buffeted about by air currents, would make for a more elegant game.

Women play with a Size 6 ball that's almost as big as the Size 7 ball that men use, which seems pretty pointless. There's also a Size 5 youth ball (27.5") and a Size 4 kids ball (24.5"). I suspect the Size 4 ball would be about right for women. 

Now, most women have to kind of shotput the ball at the basket, and women's shotput is not a popular sport.

In general, it should be a priority in rulemaking for women's sports to make women look elegant while playing a sport. Most heterosexual women prefer to do things that make them look good. Female tennis players look good playing tennis, so women's tennis is a big money sport. Female basketball players shoot like shotputters, so it's a small money sport.

118 comments:

Whitehall said...

In the "looking good while playing" category, women's beach volleyball seems to be the runaway winner. Women's downhill skiing in tight spandex is a distant second.

Having the girls playing in thongs and transparent halters might work!

Seriously, there is no reproductive advantage displayed in women's sports beyond general good health - and a woman wastes her time going the sport route as beauty school is more efficient.

In men's sports, the victor is the guy who gets the girls because he bested other men. What red-blooded male gets the hots for the winning center on a women's basketball team?

El Kabong said...

Men aren't going to watch women's sports unless there is a chance to, ahem, appreciate the loveliness of the female form. Even then it is a novelty. Or in the case of gymnastics and ice skating, only women watch.

And I though the existing women's sports like tennis and golf were lesbian niche activities.

Anonymous said...

Now, most women have to kind of shotput the ball at the basket, and women's shotput is not a popular sport.

It's not just the ball. Women generally can't help themselves from throwing like girls, no matter how light or small the projectile.

Anonymous said...

If you really wanted to increase scoring in women's basketball, you have to start awarding points for turnovers, air balls and general chaos on the basketball court.

Anonymous said...

Basketball with its outsized advantages for height over coordination will select for women primarily attractive only to, say, David Bowie and people like him. Tall, thin, shapeless women have very limited appeal.

It doesn't matter whether they are shooting half-size basketballs, playing tennis or even beach volley ball. lim (lipstick -> infinity) pig = pig.

Anonymous said...

Wrong wrong wrong sport for women.

The other sport, that one might say is starting to slowly get some (tentatively here, SOME) interest, remains, women's soccer.

A couple advantages women's pro but mostly National Team soccer has over women's basketball that can be transposed to the NCAA level.

1. Roughly 80% are straight.

2. Compared to basketball, soccer requires mainly lower body strength, which many women can do fairly competently (compared to dunking a basket shot) Women can kick a ball into a large goal fairly well without major difficulties and only the manly goalkeepers have to handle the ball.

3. Who is the national face of women's basketball? Britney Griner. Yeah. The face of Women's soccer? Alex Morgan (almost a twin identical in looks to Princess Kate of UK) Others are Hope Solo and for the butch factor out there, another forward about to break Mia Hamm's all time scoring record.

4. NCAA soccer is a single semester sport.

5. Unlike Olympic basketball, women's soccer last yr at the London Olympics set major attendance records. 80,000 fans piled into Wembley Stadium to watch the women's final.

6. Unlike women's basketball, women's soccer, admittedly the National Team, IS getting respectable attendance. Nearly 14,000 at their exhibition matches and some games have drawn equal with the lower NHL franchises. This is something to build on long term.

7. Unlike basketball, women look good playing soccer, at least to American fans. Really, how hard is it to run around and kick a ball 90 minutes? Easier than trying to dunk and shot-put-pass a large ball into the air. Women's feet sizes aren't as tiny as they used to be. They kick the ball just fine.

Size, height, orientation as well as prettier players (eye candy for some) aren't a problem. Its inclusive for all, and everyone's representative.

One poster here few yrs ago hung out with one of the national team members in school. So maybe he has a perspective to offer.

Soccer, the way of the future for women's sports. Not to girly, not too dykey, but just right for women who want to play and compete. They can easily make it their own since men's soccer here isn't all that.

Soccer fan said...

Meanwhile, following soccer referee lynchings by vibrant youths, Europe revives the harshest and highest sentences available:

A seventh player, age 15, was sentenced to 30 days detention for assault.

Anonymous said...

Best Onion headline ever?: "Breast Cancer Announces WNBA Awareness Month"

Anonymous said...

"Thus women's college basketball is hunting around for ways to get more popular now that the novelty has worn off and it's settled into a largely lesbian niche audience sport."

Yeah, Condi Rice loves to attend Stanford women's bb games.

I don't know about Condi, straight or lesbian? I kind of feel sorry for her--a classically trained pianist, bright, black woman. Just how many mates were out there for her?

Abe Fauxman said...

Mr. Sailer, there are more pressing issues, like the persecution of dozens undocumented Pakistani workers by American citizens.

Anonymous said...

Several sports SEEM popular during the Olympics (women's soccer when the USA won the gold and to a lesser degree, men's soccer if the USA wins anything), skiing events when the USA fields a good team, ice skating, (yeah, even men watch ice skating, with limpy wristed skaters and all...quite a feat for that sport to garner those viewers), but hey, it's the Olympics and interest of short duration in the competition for the medals is only temporary.

God, those women in men's baggy basketball pants is really gross, and they can't jump.

Anonymous said...

When will they give up? I saw some chick from U.S. soccer after the last World Cup saying 'it's time' for America to have a professional league. Hey babe, been tried ... several times ... failed ... no interest.

The only way women's college bball will ever attract a huge following is to build arenas with two courts and let them play at the same time as the men. Would THAT satisfy them?

Anonymous said...

Eliminate the boring alternate possession rule in favor of an actual jump ball. It's like the faceoff in hockey, a 1-on-1 competition within the game itself. Get rid of the shot clock, allowing innovative offensive strategies like the four-corners to be deployed to allow underdogs to better compete with the handful of NCAA girls superteams. Keep the game below the rim and allow it to be played at a highly variable pace and it will be more interesting.

Anonymous said...

Looking at a non-elite level, women's sports in college and high school are in pretty good straits. They're accepted group activities that usually aren't dominated by lesbians - At my high school female sports were dominated by a just sub-cheerleader junta of talented-but-not-elite female athletes who seemed to intimidate the more mannish girls out of participation.

Outsiders aren't going to watch a bunch of girls play the same sport as male athletes at lower levels of performance but I question whether we should worry too much that some universities are having difficulty exploiting yet another fraction of their student bodies for cash.

Anonymous said...

Nancy Lopez popularized golf, not just women's golf but golf, period.
I can recall going to the course when Nancy was winning everything and all the men were talking about her and women's golf. They enjoyed watching. She was to the women's tour what Arnie had been to the men's.

To interest the men now in women's golf, there are many hotties on the LPGA tour, but there are also many butch golfers \as well as many Koreans (both butch and not, I think), but the LPGA needs a Nancy Lopez type, someone cute, wholesome, and great with people and a contract with a major network to bring back the audience they once had.

Sideways said...

The "it looks like shot put and not good, so women won't like it" is one of your two or three worst theories, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Your idea for reducing the size of the ball is excellent.

Auntie Analogue said...



Oh, wow, women's basketball.

Zzzzzzz-zzzzzz.


Oh, wow, men's basketball.

Zzzzzzz-zzzzzz.


Oh, wow, arguments over and propositions for basketball rule changes.

Just. Shoot. Me.

peterike said...

The other sport, that one might say is starting to slowly get some (tentatively here, SOME) interest, remains, women's soccer.

Indeed, since soccer is equally boring when played by men or women, it might just work.

Horace Staccato said...

Sports popular for heterosexual women are NOT team sports. They are individual sports like tennis, horsewomanship, diving, some track events, etc.

Women are not team players. Which is strange because they certainly seem to be natural collectivist tyrants.

peterike said...

Mr. Sailer, there are more pressing issues, like the persecution of dozens undocumented Pakistani workers by American citizens.

Indeed, "American citizens" Farrukh and Bushra Baig, Mr. Baig’s brothers, Zahid and Shannawaz, and his associates, Malik Yousaf, Tariq Rana and Ramon Nanas.

And let's play a game. For this NY Times story that is yet another in an endless series of tales about criminal immigrants -- comments allowed? Yes or no?

No cheating!

Anonymous said...

"Nah, too many basketball rims around the country aren't adjustable."

That sounds like a shovel ready project. Perfect to stimulate the economy. And if Mark Rubio has his way we can get some of our newly legalized vibrant workers to do it at a great price to boot!

Ven Regals said...

Another thing that is not talked about is the fact that women and girls who play basketball get alot more knee injuries than men. The sharp cuts and stopping full speed are very bad for both men's and women's knees, but men have more muscle in the leg and around the knee to absorb the shock. Women are better off playing soccer or field hockey.

Anonymous said...

Another point about the sports that women like to watch, like gymnastics and ice skating, is that the winners are not picked by objective criteria, such as the amount of time elapsed in a race or the number of points scored in a game. The winners are chosen by vote. In general, men care about who is the best, and women care about who is the most popular. The obsession with popular starts at an early age, dominates every aspect of the teenage years, and persists throughout life.

Son of Brock Landers said...

If they lower the rim, they are going for the ESPNization of the sport to sell dunks and showtime. The blinders they are forced to wear as part of PC media prohibits them from admitting women's sports has limited appeal. If they do lose white girls, they are going to lose any sex appeal they formerly had for marketing teams to men and lesbians looking for eye candy.

The WNBA is a great example of taking money from men to give to women for the progressive pat on the head. The amount of money burnt by the WNBA could've been placed in an account for players who file bankruptcy that don't have enough years served to qualify for a pension. God knows they need it.

I've noticed ESPN's Grantland the some other USA Today's The Big Lead are some of the strictest enforcers and snoops of PC thought. Any theory as to why?

David Davenport said...

I believe the official NCAA women's ball is 29" in circumference

It is 28.5".

I have seen a few women with good b-ball shooting form.

Regarding soccer: Yes, soccer is an excellent game for women, girls, small boys,and foreigners.

Steve Sailer said...

"Any theory as to why?"

Because human biodiversity is completely obvious in sports.

Anonymous said...

I used to go to a fair number of WNBA games. The audience was mostly male and one question that almost invariably arose for discussion somewhere in my hearing was whether the women could beat an average boys' high school team. My own opinion was that they could, because they had practiced for many years longer, ran their plays better and were very good (non-girly) shooters. But the majority view was that, since there's no question that the boys would have had a big edge in athleticism, the women's passes would have been intercepted and their shots blocked. It's hard to enjoy watching a basketball game when your mind is preoccupied with how lousy the players are.

Steve Sailer said...

"Seriously, there is no reproductive advantage displayed in women's sports beyond general good health"

To a lot of girls' fathers, that's definitely a feature, not a bug.

Anonymous said...

Of all the team sports out there, soccer has the best chance. Other reasons:

1. Unlike real soccer (rest of world) women's soccer players particularly at NCAA level tend to come from white upper class suburbs. It's mostly a white game.

2. Again about 80% are straight. The dyke factor isn't as large as in WNBA. There are also some attractive women playing soccer.

3. Better form fitting uniforms.

4. Women look better kicking a ball around than trying to shoot a ball over their heads.

5. Slowly this time around the National Team is gaining some sustained interest. If its exhibition matches are drawing 14K that's pretty good, all things considered.

Only real drawback:

How to translate any excitement for the National Team to a professional league itself. The Nat Team is finally starting to get more attention outside an olympic year. It can almost stand on its own as an entity. This is mainly because:

"Americans love a winner". Unlike men's soccer, the women dominate and tend to win. A lot.

If they can figure out how to translate that to a pro league and sustain it better than the WNBA, then women's soccer will be the pre-eminent team sport for the ladies (if isnt already).
A bit tough road to climb, bit it's certainly possible.

It's the middle ground sport: Not too dykey, and not too girly. Right in the middle.

Steve Sailer said...

" whether the women could beat an average boys' high school team."

The last quasi-serious basketball game I played in was an office rivalry Third Floor v. Fourth Floor game. Our point guard was a black lady security guard who had played Division I basketball. She was in the 23-25 age range and still played a lot of basketball. She was significantly more competent (i.e., didn't make turnovers, saw plays developing faster, didn't get faked out) than all the office worker guys on the court, and was better than the other floor's male point guard. She was the best team player out there, but she couldn't score enough to make a significant difference in the outcome of the game.

Anonymous said...

Also,

You know the players are prettier when they hook up with NFLers. Former QB AJ Feely is married to Heather Mitts, retired star of national team. If you google image heather Mitts, you'll immediately see what she was known for, even though she was a legit starter on the team.

Translation: WNBers dont look like Heather Mitts. And Alex Morgan, the next big star, looks like Princess Kate of UK. WNBers dont like Alex Morgan, either.

Anonymous said...

"Couldn't score enough..."

Out of curiosity - Do you mean she couldn't score? Or that she scored a lot but the rest of team didn't, so you lost anyway?

Silver said...

Tennis is the only woman's sport I've ever enjoyed watching and actually looked forward to watching. I've enjoyed some of the winter sports I caught when flicking through channels but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch them.

The success of that deeply inelegant Williams woman has ruined tennis for me somewhat. While I'm certainly a racist it's not because she's black. I wouldn't mind at all seeing an elegant (or at least comparatively more elegant) black player enjoy the same success ('new world blacks' anyway; Africans from Africa hold much less appeal). Interestingly, I think an asian player dominating tennis would spoil it for me even more than Williams has. I find asians preferable to blacks in all sorts of ways in daily life, but watching them compete in sports is definitely not one of them.

Anonymous said...

No kidding, Steve. My teen daughter swims on a club team. She wears very form revealing suits and swims mostly with the boy lanes. Worries me to death.

Big TeX

jody said...

i don't think anything will increase spectator interest in women playing basketball. not only do they not play well, the women are ogres. simply getting the ogres to play better will not increase interest either.

and there's a limit to how much better they can play. it's a low ceiling. they are never going to be that good at hoops. women don't throw or jump well, and that's most of the game.

american participation has actually decreased 5% over the last 10 years, from 457,000 high school players in 2003 down to 435,000 players in 2012.

i'm not sure what is happening internationally in terms of participation. the best WNBA player for years was a 6-5 australian, but i don't know how many international players are active right now. my initial guess is that track & field, soccer, and volleyball are bigger women's sports around the world, and growing faster than hoops.

gubbler chechnova said...

The problem is this.

Men's basketball is black dominated but that's okay since men don't have to be pretty to be attractive. Men can be beasks and still be sexy.
So, black men, even the ugly ones, win lots of fans on the courts and fields.

But when it comes to women, everyone--men and women--wanna see good-looking women. Problem is women's basketball is dominated by ugly black women.

If you wanna see beasts win in sports, go with black men who can whup everyone.
Beastliness is only attractive when it's the most beastly and badass.
Women cannot beat men in beastliness, so the appeal of women in sports is different. Women aren't as badass as men, but women can add beauty and sexiness to sports. And this is true of some female tennis players. But when one looks at the Serena sistaz or ugly black hos in basketball, I mean what's the point? If you wanna see beastliness win, then just go with men's sports.

The only reason for watching women's sports is to see some grace and beauty along with the athletics, but most women in basketball are either ugly black hos or ugly dykes. They be looking like aunt Esther.

Anonymous said...

Playing off of the popularity of "Hunger Games" - disclosure, didn't see - how about a "bowhunt", using convicted child pederasts as the game. This would combine the male taste for hunt and hunted with the female taste for revenge.

Neil Templeton

gubbler chechnova said...

"Because human biodiversity is completely obvious in sports."

Translated into honestese:

Blacks kick everyone's butts, and hos are no match for bros.

Hacienda said...

American culture is impossibly exotic and strange.

I hope 100 years from now, the world will look back at it and guffaw.

Bill said...

You can't make women look good (as women) when they're playing contact sports. Humans instinctively cringe at violence against women; they feel distressed rather than impressed when they see a girl get manhandled on the court. Contrast that to football, where a vicious hit gets the crowd roaring, or even men's basketball, when a shot is blocked with violent assertion to great applause.

In order to make women's basketball attractive, there would have to be a rule that opposing teams couldn't touch each other on the court, and I don't know how you'd do that with basketball.

The reason women's tennis and volleyball are decent to watch is that the girls do not appear to be slapping or kicking each other, as they do in basketball and soccer.

Anonymous said...

There is a feminine version of hoops played elsewhere in the Anglosphere: Netball. In Australia, the participation rate is second only to soccer; so it's not lacrosse or royal tennis. It's a grassroots team sport for girls of all ages.

Gilbert P.

stari_momak said...

Here's a way to make it popular with the Maxim set -- make it into Netball

Anonymous said...

"Soccer, the way of the future for women's sports. "

Don't hold your breath. The Olympic record attendance was lower than Women's World Cup final attendance way back in the last century.
Women's soccer leagues have been tried in US and have failed after blowing out millions. The latest failure coming this year. Unlike UK where the women's teams are a la like WNBA ones.

Why? Too much confidence in the numbers of an event that comes around every 4 years. So much so that they rebuffed men's league's advances before coming to their senses.


http://espn.go.com/soccer/s/2000/0412/477455.html

http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/7962722/espnw-julie-foudy-explores-whether-women-pro-soccer-make-us

Steve Sailer said...

A long, long time ago American women's national team star Ann Meyer ran off Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale, who was the second handsomest player on his Van Nuys HS team, after Robert Redford.

ScarletNumber said...

How sad that a D-I athlete fresh out of college was working as a security guard.

Guessing she wasn't a STEM major. Maybe criminal justice or sociology.

Dave Pinsen said...

A smaller ball makes sense.

Re the hating on women's basketball: I'm not a fan of watching it either, but it's worth noting that at the high school level, there are plenty of normal (average height, etc.) girls who play. Basketball isn't a bad winter sport for a high school girl who wants to stay active in the off season from another sport (e.g., soccer).

"And I though the existing women's sports like tennis and golf were lesbian niche activities."

Women's tennis is huge, and the top women make huge money. And most seem to be heterosexual. Professional women's tennis is fun to watch too, if you like tennis; it's not as radically different from men's tennis as women's basketball is from men's basketball.

"Of all the team sports out there, soccer has the best chance.

Pro soccer in the US takes its lead from European soccer (hence the MLS teams with European-sounding names, FC-this, Real-that, Houston Dynamo; the attempt to recreate soccer pub culture in places like Portland, etc.). As long as Europeans don't much care about women's soccer, women's pro soccer probably won't get much traction in the US.

"1. Unlike real soccer (rest of world) women's soccer players particularly at NCAA level tend to come from white upper class suburbs. It's mostly a white game."

The best soccer teams in the world are in Europe, and they are mostly white as well (although they are more diverse than US women's soccer). See, for example, the team photo for the best team in the English Premier League last season, Manchester United.

Anonymous said...

"Former QB AJ Feely is married to Heather Mitts"

what are the tall girls to do when all the tall and handsome guys are snapped up by little minxes instead of falling for their own strong and independent selves?

"The audience was mostly male and one question that almost invariably arose for discussion somewhere in my hearing was whether the women could beat an average boys' high school team."

US women's national soccer team used to get trashed by boys' teams in their practice matches. They found that while they could overcome the technical skills of other national teams with better physiques, the same wouldn't work with boys.

"Alex Morgan (almost a twin identical in looks to Princess Kate of UK) Others are Hope Solo and for the butch factor out there, another forward about to break Mia Hamm's all time scoring record."

often accompanied by 'male or female'. See women can break men's records too! Often attributed to the atrociousness of female goalies. Besides the smaller stature, poor spatial skills also playing a part.

"Another thing that is not talked about is the fact that women and girls who play basketball get alot more knee injuries than men. "

It's not alot more in soccer, but it's despite being slower and lighter. Concussions are another.


An amusing factoid, Christiano Ronaldo the primadonna of soccer was named after Ronald Reagan.

stari_momak said...

WNBA Great Chamique Holdsclaw Pleads Guilty To Shooting Ex Girlfriend's Range Rover

Anonymous said...

Horace Staccato said: Sports popular for heterosexual women are NOT team sports. They are individual sports like tennis, horsewomanship, diving, some track events, etc.

Women are not team players. Which is strange because they certainly seem to be natural collectivist tyrants.
.................................................................................


At the risk of sounding like a PUAspie/Game nerd who shoehorns every social phenomenon into a superficially plausible evopsych narrative, my guess is that it has to do with mating strategies.

The staggering number of descendants left behind by history's great (and minor) warrior chieftains might explain this seeming anomaly.

Acting as a coordinated troop is a time-honored way for men to gain reproductive opportunities, while a female equivalent of Genghis Khan or Ibn Saud is a biological impossibility.

Women might temporarily band together to deny rivals access to mates and other resources,but mean girl cliques aren't analogous to male coalitions formed around positive shared goals.

-The Judean People's Front

Anonymous said...

Years ago, the deep unpopularity of watching women's team sports was a given. Now, everyone's drunk so much feminist Kool-aide, its a matter for deep analysis.

Women can't play as well as men. No one would watch a league full slow, short, but very skilled men who couldn't make it in the NBA or MLS. So why should people watch WNBA or Women's soccer?

The only reason is its Women. So its just novelty or just girl watching. Which means the sport need GOOD-LOOKING women, playing sports that make them look good.

Hence, the popularity of figure skating and women's tennis.

Anonymous said...

"Soccer, the way of the future for women's sports. Not to girly, not too dykey, but just right for women who want to play and compete. They can easily make it their own since men's soccer here isn't all that."

Nope. Men's soccer is doing just fine in the USA and women's soccer is never going to come close to the success of the men's game. Yes the USWNT can draw fans and it has won multiple Women's World Cups and Olympic Gold Medals; but, in spite of the fact that the USMNT will probably never win a World Cup or Olympic God Medal in our lifetimes, the men's national team is still by far the bigger draw (in terms of tickets sold, TV ratings, national media coverage, etc) than the women's national team. Doing okay in a sport that actually matters (the men's game) is much better than dominating a game of much less importance (the women's game).

And that's just at the level of the national teams, where American fans will show some support for the women's game. At the club level, there is no support. The third attempt at a women's soccer league is being supported by the national FA's of the USA, Canada and Mexico, as a way to pay their women's national team players to play club soccer when not playing for their national teams. It's a subsidy, like the WNBA is a subsidy of the NBA, to allow the women's national team players to play their club soccer in North America rather than in Europe.

No one is going to show up (no one is showing up) for these women's pro soccer league games apart from a few thousand hard core types at most. In the meantime, MLS is one of the top drawing leagues in the world and in terms of average attendance has already surpassed the NBA and NHL in average attendance (MLS number of games played is lower than NHL and NBA and ticket prices are lower so of course this is not a good comparison, but it does remind one to disregard those "soccer will never make it in the USA" predictions from 30 years ago).

Julian O'Dea said...

How women look attractive and show fitness cues while being fairly athletic:

http://davidcollard.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/his-strength-her-flexibility/

Anonymous said...

"US women's national soccer team used to get trashed by boys' teams in their practice matches. They found that while they could overcome the technical skills of other national teams with better physiques, the same wouldn't work with boys."

Correct. Watch the Summer Olympics and compare men's and women's team sports where the rules are almost exactly the same for both sexes: basketball, football (soccer), (field) hockey, volleyball, and (team) handball. In each case it is the same: the men's game is faster and quicker because men are bigger, faster, stronger, quicker. Even if the women have as much skill as the men (and they often don't), the women's game is slower and less fun to watch. The ball travels slower/less far. The possibilities of the game are thus reduced.

This is true across multiple team sports; it isn't just limited to basketball. Women's basketball is further disadvantaged by the fact that the players are a lot less good-looking than other women's sports. Women's soccer is full of hotties. Women's (field) hockey too. Check out some of the Olympic women's (field) hockey when Australia plays against the Netherlands: nothing but shapely, slender blondes on both teams. Women's basketball can't compete with that. Women's basketball selects for body types that aren't very attractive to men. The other women's team sports don't have that disadvantage, so they can trade on their eye candy factor even when the male audience realizes that the women's game is nowhere near the level of the men's game.

Peter the Shark said...

Granted soccer is a better game for women than basketball, ice hockey is also better than basketball for that matter. But the more popular men's soccer becomes in the US the more women's soccer is going to recede. Americans watch women's soccer now because they don't know much about the game and don't realize how slow and awkward women's soccer is compared to the real thing. (And American professional men's soccer is also fairly mediocre). If you watch EPL or Bundesliga games, you will be unable to spend more than 30 seconds on a women's match. Life is simply too short to waste time watching second tier athletes do anything.

Anonymous said...

Is womens basketball such a big international sport ? Australia has usually been number 2 of late but there the allied game of netball is significantly larger in all the measures ( their team by the way seems composed of the white marrying kind )

Also there is money in womens tennis because the majors of both sexes are held conjointly and pcness comes into play . Outside the majors there is no contest .
If mens and womens events were held quite seperately as is the case for golf does anyone think there would be equal prizemoney ?

Anonymous said...

In the meantime, MLS is one of the top drawing leagues in the world and in terms of average attendance has already surpassed the NBA and NHL in average attendance (MLS number of games played is lower than NHL and NBA and ticket prices are lower so of course this is not a good comparison, but it does remind one to disregard those "soccer will never make it in the USA" predictions from 30 years ago).


Not quite accurate. MLS is never going to equal MLB or NFL or NCAA Div 1 Football or Basketball televised games. Other reports do not show MLS surpassing NBA games in average attendance. MLS does well in certain markets but is actually mediocre in attendance overall across the board, especially those markets that have other competition for the sports dollars.

Face it: Soccer, men or women, is never ever going to be the #1 or 2 sport in America. Not happening. MLB and NFL will always see to that. MMA and cage fighting as well as Wrestling draw bigger ratings and average attendance AND generate much much more revenue than MLS.

One way you can tell it is in player's salaries. Only about half a dozen earn over 500K per season. The average salary is still below 100K. In other words a major pro sport has most of its players getting paid at best to the levels of triple A baseball. Look at the top USMNT members, the vast majority aren't millionaires by any stretch of the term. The biggest salaries which are always tied to club revenue are all abroad.

I agree about women's soccer but think out of all the team games it has the most potential. The problem will always be in how to get the men to watch.

The irony: Women's soccer in America has more fans and revenue compared to women's soccer worldwide. Most of the women's pro leagues abroad dont pay their players very much at all either. Brazilian super star Marta and others have played here for many seasons, mainly due to the bigger salaries they received. So this idea that women's pro soccer leagues pay the players tons more abroad is total nonsense.

The only chance for women's soccer to succeed is for it to do well here. Soccer crazy nations know which gender plays best and will probably never support their own women's leagues in any way.

But "soccer never succeeding here in America" is apt. It never will compared to the money making sports of NFL and MLB as well as new coming sports such as MMA and TV wrestling. Heck, MLS doesnt get near the revenue that PGA does. And never will.

Anonymous said...

The WNBA is currently pushing "The 3 To See", that is the attractive rookies Skylar Diggins, Elena Delle Donne, and the non-attractive Britney Griner. If you haven't yet seen Diggins and Delle Donne, sure worth a google search.

Anonymous said...

Stari-Womack, thanks for posting the netball links. As Steve has been known to say: nice thing are nicer than than nasty things.

My own little miss Pinfold became a champion on the netball court. Just a ribbon and a perspex trophy, mind you. But it told her father something about her that's important to know. And it told her something about herself.

Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

utd is majority white but i wouldn't say 'mostly'.

12/29 non white, but utd's strongest 11:

De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Rio, Evra, Carrick, Giggs, Nani, Valencia, Rooney, RvP....is majority non-white: Giggs is quarter black atleast.

Anonymous said...

"Face it: Soccer, men or women, is never ever going to be the #1 or 2 sport in America."

Isn't it already #1 in Mehico? one more reason to support amnesty!

"I agree about women's soccer but think out of all the team games it has the most potential. The problem will always be in how to get the men to watch. "

getting daddies to watch would have worked, they probably already make up a sizeable portion of audience.
patriarchy is not always bad.

Anonymous said...

Women's golf has gotten away from the "Dykes in Spikes" who dominated the earlier LPGA to promoting the short shorts/tiny skirts/tank tops-wearing Lolitas to stir interest. It hasn't done a thing for its popularity, probably because of the Invasion of the Yellow Peril, the round-faced and round-shaped Koreans who dominate the LPGA.

Paul Mendez said...

My father is 5'6" and grew up playing basketball in Philadelphia in the 1940's when it was still a white man's game. As a kid, I remember him living and breathing basketball.

Today, he loathes what the game has become. However, he will still sometimes watch women's college basketball. He says its the last place you still see it being played as the team game it once was.

sunbeam said...

I'm curious as to whether anyone has any numbers on the demographics of NBA (the men) fans.

I've googled but surprisingly or unsurprisingly I haven't found much.

I'm particularly interested in the TV numbers, as opposed to the actual game attendance.

I've heard the fanbase is increasingly black. I have to wonder. When I was younger I followed all sports including the NBA. As I got older I quit this, and haven't watched a game in years. I just don't care anymore. I also never seem to hear anyone talking about any of these games, unless they are black people.

What really gets me, is the kids. They don't follow sports at all. There isn't anything for them to lose interest in.

So is it me and my circle, or can I generalize from this? Because it sure seems to me that the NBA is vastly less popular than it used to be, though I see people argue the other way. I'm not sure the last time I saw a white person wear an NBA teams logoed gear. Once upon a time I would see people of all stripes wear Laker and Celtic gear, but that is just not there anymore.

Anonymous said...

Does the dark slant of E(bonic)SPN surprise anyone anymore? Are you still surprised at the percentage of fast food ads with black actors, too?

This year's Stanley Cup play has been tremendous, and if there's any sport that should be more popular just on its merits, it's hockey. But ESPN wouldn't even deign to carry the Finals.

Sorry, too white.

George said...

Steve you are missing the point. EVERYBODY has to care ALL the time about women's issues is sports and everything else.

Cail Corishev said...

However, he will still sometimes watch women's college basketball. He says its the last place you still see it being played as the team game it once was.

Makes sense, since the best women players play similarly to and about as well as a typical team of white, 5'6", high-school boys. We didn't dunk much either.

Anonymous said...

The problem I have with soccer is the brain damage from heading the ball. NFL and boxing are worse, obviously.

poolside said...

I'm an outlier, because as a soccer fan, I enjoy women's soccer at the national and collegiate levels.

The slower pace and lack of physicality actually make the women's game interesting to me, because the technical side shows more.

But even I have never really been interested in the three women's pro leagues. It's one thing to watch the USWNT in a competitive match ... quite another to try and gin up interest in a league match featuring a bunch of players you don't know.

I honestly don't think women's pro leagues -- basketball or soccer -- will ever be self-sustaining. There is just too much competition for the entertainment dollar, and the core audience is just too small.

P.S. Lots of women soccer players are attractive. But I was a tad freaked out once when I stumbled on a lesbian Internet site that featured slow-motion gifs of the USWNT players hugging after goals, etc. Most of the discussion centered around the players' personal lives rather than the tactical insights you would read about men's soccer.

Evil Sandmich said...

I've heard the fanbase [of the NBA] is increasingly black

When I go to an Indians games they just eyeball any bags that you're bringing in (nominally for 'saftey', but mostly to check for outside booze). When I go to a Cavaliers game, it's like trying to get on an airplane. That tells me all I need to know about who watches those sports.

poolside said...

Here's a pic of Alex Morgan:

[url]http://www.listal.com/viewimage/4316479h[/url]

Here is a pic of Sydney Leroux:

[url]http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/the91stminute/2013/04/sydney-leroux-instagram-photo-is-the-reason-you-should-follow-her-on-instagram/[/url]

Here is a pic of Kelley O'Hara:

[url]http://www.ussoccer.com/media-library/Audios/WNT/2012/120727-Extra-Time-Ohara.aspx[/url]

Anonymous said...

The key is good-looking women. If the players are too ugly for a Sports Illustrated cover, it can't catch on. They don't have to be super beautiful, but do have to be reasonably able to be made up by a make up artist to look pretty good in a magazine with a little (a little!!) airbrushing.

John Mansfield said...

In '99 when the women's soccer world cup has being played in the U.S., my wife (former HS and college player) followed and I noticed a couple things. First, pretty much all the women on Mexico's team were American-born. Second, the women on Brazil's team had all shaved their heads. When I asked my wife about that, she said it was so they could grow their hair back when the world cup spotlight had gone away and not be recognized back home as one of those peculiar women playing soccer.

Also, my wife, who likes the game a lot, also finds men or boys playing soccer more fun to watch over women or girls.

Anonymous said...

Popularity of a female sport can't be solely a function of how attractive the women that compete are because College Women's Softball is ridiculously pretty....ESPN telecasts tons of it in May and June and all the SEC, PAC12, ACC teams are filled with extremely attractive women, much more than women's soccer or even the WTA as a whole.

Yet WNBA is bigger than pro-softball.

DCThrowback said...

"In men's sports, the victor is the guy who gets the girls because he bested other men. What red-blooded male gets the hots for the winning center on a women's basketball team?"

Hmmm...

This guy , who couldn't resist the allure of this <a href="http://www.exposay.com/celebrity-photos/rebecca-lobo-2012-wnba-seattle-storm-los-0d9Qzn.jpg> girl </a>.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Corporate sports. :::yawn:::

After all these years I still can't get my mind around the idea of women playing sports. With the exception, of course, of field hockey.

And I can't help but notice that the focus on college sports will do nothing to prevent America's slide into solid third world status. It's all about priorities. Or should be.

And finally, Poolside wrote @ 6:03AM:

"...once when I stumbled on a lesbian Internet site"

LOL. I hate it when that happens.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2013/30-geekiest-movie-facts-you-never-knew-about/

pat said...

Thanks Steve. You read the New York Times so we don't have to. You watch Women's Basketball for us too.

The insight that women sort of shot put the ball reminded me of the last great women's shot putter - Tamara Press.

Some might complain that Ms. Press was really a man but that's just a quibble. It is also a solution.

We need a moderate position here. Women obviously are lousy at athletic contests designed for men. Let's compromise. How about transgenders?

There are plenty of tall athletic men out there who are not quite good enough to play ball against other men but who would be glad to have their dingus removed so they could play as women.

Albertosaurus

Silver said...

On the topic of soccer, I have a story to share.

Hours before the UEFA Champion's League Final of 2012, between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, this bald, fat, drunk (goes without saying) English guy at the pub began bellowing some soccer chant at the top of his voice to the melody of The Camptown Races. "Can you hear the nazis sing? No-o, no-o," and ending with a thunderous exclamation after the last "can you hear...": "I can't hear a fookin' thing!"

I struck up a conversation with him and after a few minutes asked him where he hailed from. London was the answer. And when he told me which part I asked "Isn't that the part the blacks burned down last year"? Only I didn't say blacks, I used the other term. Here's this menacing skinhead-looking English bloke, annoying all within earshot with his soccer chant (hours before the game mind you, doubt there were many soccer fans in that crowd) and he simply froze. His eyes grew large and he looked at me in astonishment. Then he turned away, shook his head and said softly, "I'm not a racist, mate."

agnostic said...

Get rid of those ridiculous saggy shorts -- there's 90% of the elegance problem solved right there.

Women want to show off their legs. Even in these neo-Victorian times, you can still rely on them to wear short shorts in hot weather. It lets them feel sexy without feeling cheap and whorish, since legs are not so central to the act of sex.

It would also make girls thinking of joining less nervous to know that they would be seen for their long legs rather than general large size. Men are not interested in tall women for their sheer size, but specifically for their leggy look. The potential players would be relieved to know they wouldn't look like bulky ogres.

Long, baggy shorts totally ruin the image of long lean legs. This not only deprives male viewers of some nice eye candy (which they'd only watch for about 5 minutes before changing the channel).

It also prevents the female viewers from fixating on the players in envy, like "Gosh, look at how long her legs are. I wish I had legs like that..." They need to see someone they aspire to be more like, as part of a role-playing fantasy.

Then there's the class associations of girls who wear long baggy shorts -- ghetto blacks or suburban low-class wiggers. Imagine how many white guys would play basketball if part of the uniform were a doo-rag and gold teef.

I'm guessing the average father would be more worried about his daughter wearing ghetto trash clothing than showing off her legs. But you never know with nutcase parents these days.

So, either shorten the shorts to the length you see in volleyball, or make them fairly short skirts like tennis players wore in the '80s.

Dave Pinsen said...

"Face it: Soccer, men or women, is never ever going to be the #1 or 2 sport in America. Not happening. MLB and NFL will always see to that"

I think soccer players and fans would be thrilled to see it as a number 3 sport in the US someday. Although MLS hasn't taken off, more Americans are watching European soccer now that Fox Sports broadcasts EPL games. If MLS ever got integrated into the UEFA Champions League, so the top US teams competed with the top European teams at the end of the season, that might boost interest in US soccer. But for that to happen, MLS would have to align its calendar with that of European soccer (which would be a good idea anyway).

I wouldn't be so sanguine about the prospects of the NFL and MLB going forward. Baseball is boring, and the NFL is under a lot of pressure to water down the most exciting aspect of the game, the crushing hits. Don't let the defenses play, and it might morph into something closer to arena football. And prominent intellectuals such as Hi-Octane Siesta have stopped watching the game out of concerns about brain injuries suffered by the players.

Whitehall said...

What then about women in motor sports?

Technically, I can see some advantages to lighter women in the "cockpit" but one never gets to see them as attractive women on the race course. Fast reflexes are necessary as is some modicum of upper body strength. A downside is the aggressiveness required in some forms of racing. An early pioneer was a lady dragster driver who required neither.

As another commenter mentioned, people cringe at women being hurt so one dramatic clip of a woman driver being turned into a crispy critter could hurt the whole motor racing enterprise.

Anonymous said...


"Lots of women soccer players are attractive. But I was a tad freaked out once when I stumbled on a lesbian Internet site that featured slow-motion gifs of the USWNT players hugging after goals, etc. Most of the discussion centered around the players' personal lives rather than the tactical insights you would read about men's soccer."

THATS IT! NAILED IT. THATS another thing: What's REAAALLY missing in all this is that for the most part, women team sports don't have "male groupies.' The way men athletes in team sports do.

To the dykes out there, these soccer players are more than eye candy. They're kind of soft core porn. Much the way straight normal guys would rate various Victoria Secret Models. But women athletes, simply isn't done.

NYT has a soccer blog started by women who follow men's soccer (mostly MLS) they have a section on it they said, where only women can log in. Wonder why? They said it's so they can freely discuss the various male players (one candidly admitted so they can talk about and rate each guy, e.g. wonder where he's playing next, how to meet him etc)

Basically, its a women's blog created under the excuse of watching and learning about MLS but in reality it's a groupie thing.

USWNT members, aside from the dyke blogs, dont have MALE GROUPIES. They dont. Come to think of it, most women team sports dont. Certainly not to the level that all male sports do.

Men athletes, have their pick of the girls, plenty of groupies around. Women athletes, the straight ones, dont have this going for them, period.

Like it's been said, men simply wont bother to watch women's sports so how would they know who's hot or not? Second, the ones that do watch, generally won't go so far as to try and be a female player's groupie, the way lots of young women would for men athletes.

There's really no groupie factor? You don't hear guys discussing wanting to bang and nail Kelly O'Harra or Tobin Heath the way women definitely want to have Beckham's babies. Just not there.

Possibly it exists among pre-pubescent boys, but after 16, nope. No such thing.

The soccer players are missing out on a crucial factor: They don't have male groupies. Just the dyke players.

These straight soccer girls have to figure out a way to get themselves some male groupies. MIght help raise the profile and interest a bit.

Eric said...

What really gets me, is the kids. They don't follow sports at all. There isn't anything for them to lose interest in.

Kids are more interested in interactive video games than passive sports-watching.

Anonymous said...

Sunbeam:

I'm in a 5 sport town. My son and his friends in our 90% white upper middle class town follow MLB and NFL, and occasionally NHL and only wear team colors for those sports. Nobody in town who counts (and that means excluding the small and docile black minority) cares about MLS or the NBA. The kids beg to go to professional baseball, football, and hockey games, and in that order.

In addition to those sports, the dads in town are also interested in the PGA to an extent, and there is enough foreign soccer interest for there to be a Anglo-Scottish scocer pub to survive.

Sports in grade school are Soccer, Basketball, and Baseball/Softball. Sports at the middle and high school are Field Hockey, Basketball, and Lacrosse for girls and Football, Basketball, and Baseball for boys. Tennis, Golf, Cross Country Running and Track and Field are also available for both. Pretty much everyone swims in the summer at private clubs (to avoid the riff raff) who does not summer at the shore, and there is a group who swims year round. Some girls do gymnastics and dance. An increasing number of boys do Lacrosse. Many people avoid having their kids play Basketball in the winter because that gives you November through March to focus on schoolwork, which is far more important to future success. Recreational sports among dads are Running, Biking, Golf, Tennis/Squash, and in that order. Only young men/teens play pick-up Basketball.

I don't think your experience is at all unique. Basketball and Soccer are all around, but no one pays any attention to or more importantly spends any money on the professional leagues except for blacks

Jack Hanson said...

None of you talked about the 800lb gorilla in the room in regards to ladies tennis, which is the Williams sisters doping. Their musculature is freakish, yet they get a pass on testing (serena famously ran into a panic room when a dope screener came around).

all the brouhaha about armstrong but serena has shoulders like a linebacker and biceps like a shot putter that can't be explained by typical african female mannishness.

Anonymous said...

Steve one way you could help out the WNBA is by constantly talking about how Brittany Griner looks like Halle Berry. That will make at least half you readers convinced she actually does.

Anonymous said...

"The problem I have with soccer is the brain damage from heading the ball. NFL and boxing are worse, obviously."

Headbutt leads to shithead.

ironrailsironweights said...

One sport in which the women's version is competitive and not particularly watered down is, of all things, boxing. It's quite watchable. What I suspect runs in its favor is that given the way the sport has different weight classes, when we watch men's boxing we don't always see the biggest and strongest athletes, and this carries over to greater acceptance of the women's version.
Plus, it helps that there are some surprisingly hot women boxers :)

Peter

Anonymous said...

Lowering the rim should have been done years ago, Volleyball has a one foot lower net for the females ( 8ft vs. 9ft ) why not in basketball? Female volleyball players are definitely more feminine looking than basketball players even when they are 6'3", and grab far more male interest in the Olympics even when it isn't beach volleyball. Was anyone surprised what Britney Griner came out as lesbian. That woman talks and walks like a guy, and not just in a tomboy way, I mean she sounds like a dude, walks likes a dude and sits like a male athlete. Even as tall ( 6'7" ) and long ( arm wise ) as she is, she can barely dunk by male standards, the rest of the women in the WNBA, no chance. Female basketball players look like very tall versions of the traditional lesbian softball players, neither look is very attractive to men. Regarding fathers being in favor of keeping their daughters active in sports, another side benefit is the suppressed ovulation that occurs in young women who are very active in sports, which I'm guessing dads would like because it provides a cheap method of birth control.

eah said...

Speaking of "The Narrative":

Hagel Plan Allows Women Into Navy SEALs

It's surely the mother of all plans.

The military services have mapped out a schedule that also will include reviewing and possibly changing the physical and mental standards that men and women will have to meet in order to qualify for certain infantry, armor, commando and other front-line positions across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

I love the smell of 'disparate impact' in the morning.

Matra said...

Face it: Soccer, men or women, is never ever going to be the #1 or 2 sport in America. Not happening. MLB and NFL will always see to that. MMA and cage fighting as well as Wrestling draw bigger ratings and average attendance AND generate much much more revenue than MLS.

They say demography is destiny: Tuesday’s Mexico/Jamaica World Cup qualifier earned just under 2.9 million viewers on Telemundo, the top sports program of the day on any network.

Source: Sports Media Watch

More people watched the US play Ghana in the last World Cup than last year's World Series. The crappy MLS may never match the big leagues (although those may decline too as young white people don't care about them) but I can see a day coming when the accumulated ratings from the various soccer leagues equals all US leagues except the NFL. International tournament are already as big as your domestic leagues. MLB is no longer national, it is local, with Fox OTA barely able to get a 2.0 rating in prime time even when the Yankees play.

This year's Stanley Cup play has been tremendous, and if there's any sport that should be more popular just on its merits, it's hockey. But ESPN wouldn't even deign to carry the Finals.

It's been doing much better on NBC anyway.

The key is good-looking women. If the players are too ugly for a Sports Illustrated cover, it can't catch on

Female volleyball players in Europe, Turkey, even Algeria, are often good looking and, shockingly enough, bigger stars than female athletes of more popular sports in those countries. So yes, looking good is pretty important.

Perhaps the WNBA should get its players to wear those body-hugging outfits the Australian women used to wear. But if they're as ugly as posters here say then it probably won't help much.

jody said...

"But when it comes to women, everyone--men and women--wanna see good-looking women. Problem is women's basketball is dominated by ugly black women."

people don't watch even when there are some good looking women. there was no "she's hot, guess i'll watch for a minutes" factor with sue bird or lauren jackson.

all of the women are ogres, not just the africans. watch international tournaments. or watch the NCAA tournament. the mostly european notre dame team usually gets towards the finals, but people don't watch. the women are frumpy.

steve is totally correct that their jumpers - actually, women don't even shoot jumpers, they take a standing shot - are more like shotput heaves. the action is so clumsy and slow compared to other sports, where women play at a visually respectable level.

a world class woman will beat the average guy's pants off in some other sports, but not in hoops. the best WNBA players would be D3 bench players. walk on, not recruited, garbage time only players. britney griner would be able to play from the bench on a weak team in D2, or start for a weak team in D3. that's about it.

Steve Sailer said...

Regarding Britney Griner: Two works: Caster Semenya.

jody said...

"There is a feminine version of hoops played elsewhere in the Anglosphere: Netball."

handball is similar to hoops and women look better playing handball than basketball. probably because the flow of the game is more like soccer.

"Not quite accurate. MLS is never going to equal MLB or NFL or NCAA Div 1 Football or Basketball televised games."

i wouldn't go that far. i actually expect MLS games to pass NCAA basketball games in a decade. regular season NCAA basketball games on television, nobody watches most of those. they're random and stupid to be honest. 11-10 northwest buttfunk state versus 9-13 tech poly southern. who is watching some of these games they flood the networks with in january. i figure they put these on because they are cheap. it doesn't cost much to buy the rights for programming like that.

in 2020 MLS games will have higher ratings than those. soccer is growing for real this time. not like it's previous false starts. when i was a kid and started playing, the US scene was the new york cosmos. we're a long way beyond that today.

"One way you can tell it is in player's salaries. Only about half a dozen earn over 500K per season."

pay is deliberately limited to avoid MLS making growing pain mistakes. pay could be higher, at the risk of very large, very bad contracts that wreck teams. which the owners and commissioner are specifically avoiding for now. i'm not saying pay would average 1 million dollars today, but it would be higher if they did not cap it.

Anonymous said...

"My father is 5'6" and grew up playing basketball in Philadelphia in the 1940's when it was still a white man's game. As a kid, I remember him living and breathing basketball.

Today, he loathes what the game has become. However, he will still sometimes watch women's college basketball. He says its the last place you still see it being played as the team game it once was."

My father grew up playing basketball in the same era in Louisville. He says the same thing about girls NCAA basketball. Too bad their male fan demographic is in their 80s.

jody said...

"I'm curious as to whether anyone has any numbers on the demographics of NBA (the men) fans."

we've posted about this before with nielsen numbers. our current estimates are that about half of the television viewers now are africans. the game has become very dependent on them tuning in to watch - television contracts are signed with viewership in mind and those television contracts make up the majority of league revenue. africans might actually make up a slim majority of viewers during the playoffs.

"I've heard the fanbase is increasingly black."

this is correct.

"What really gets me, is the kids. They don't follow sports at all."

too busy playing video games and watching porn. an interesting observation you make - they don't even know they've lost anything. kind of like how the kids in 2030 won't even realize they lost a great nation. hasn't america always been brazil? you have to have been there before the change happened, to realize how much better it was in the past.

"Because it sure seems to me that the NBA is vastly less popular than it used to be"

i would say this is accurate. though you have to ask, vastly less popular than compared to when? compared to it's peak, or compared to it's entire history. the NBA was not popular or even a major league before 1981 or 1982 or so. it was barely even on television prior to that.

it's far more popular now than it was in 1973, but less popular than it was in 1993. player salary tracked the television contracts almost exactly, which track spectator interest. when jordan entered the league he was being paid a couple hundred grand for 80 grueling games a year - the league was not popular and not big on television.

10 years later when big television contracts had come in, player salaries went from a couple hundred grand a year to tens of millions a year. a one time transition.

"The slower pace and lack of physicality actually make the women's game interesting to me, because the technical side shows more."

the best thing about women playing soccer is that they rarely flop. which ruins the men's game. flopping is ruining NBA play now.

Anonymous said...

Jody, Jody. Come now

"i actually expect MLS games to pass NCAA basketball games in a decade. regular season NCAA basketball games on television, nobody watches most of those. they're random and stupid to be honest."

The 2nd biggest watched tourney in US, after the superbowl, is the final four. NOTHING comes close, MLS wise, to the NCAA tourney. If you really think that one day MLS's playoffs will challenge the Final Four, well,...what can be said.

"pay is deliberately limited to avoid MLS making growing pain mistakes. pay could be higher, at the risk of very large, very bad contracts that wreck teams. which the owners and commissioner are specifically avoiding for now. i'm not saying pay would average 1 million dollars today, but it would be higher if they did not cap it."

MLS has been around nearly 20 yrs, if they truly had faith in their product, they would start paying their players comparable to the other US sports. The sports that are actually making large revenues all earn way way more. Look abroad. 40 Million to Messi, Ronaldo, etc. that's per season. 40 mil. Start paying the players what they're worth. Oh wait, in MLS, the players are paid as if triple A baseball, which is what they're worth. Remember: In baseball or football, no team has ever gone bankrupt due to a cumulative effect of bad contracts. Sounds like the same ol' crying poormouth 'cause the owners are CHEAPSKATES. Which is a common factor in nearly all sports. If they have it, they can pay it. Like they do in nearly every major sport in US and rest of world.

Read the post about women's soccer not having any male groupies. Thought for sure you'd catch that. Women team sports is missing out on a major way to increase its product. No male groupies, the way thre are plenty female groupies for men athletes of all sports.

Matra said...

Popularity of a female sport can't be solely a function of how attractive the women that compete are because College Women's Softball is ridiculously pretty....ESPN telecasts tons of it in May and June and all the SEC, PAC12, ACC teams are filled with extremely attractive women, much more than women's soccer or even the WTA as a whole.

Yet WNBA is bigger than pro-softball.


Is it really or does it just seem that way because the NBA is promoting it? I doubt the WNBA gets 1.3 million viewers on cable or even OTA?. Not bad for a college sport that never gets much mention in the media. I wonder what it would get on ABC especially if it was promoted by MLB.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Iowa when girls played 6 on 6 basketball. Half played offense (forwards) on one half the court and half played defense (guards) on the other half, and no one could cross half court. No one could dribble the ball more than twice, so it put a premium on passing and shooting, which girls tend to be pretty good at, rather than waddling up and down the floor. Huge crowd turned out to see them because they looked good playing the game. With only 6 girls involved when one team has the ball, the court was a lot more wide open, and it was common to hear of a girl scoring over 50 points in a game. Let's go back to what worked.

Matra said...

Someone brought up women in motorsports. Former rally driver Michele Mouton is the chair of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission yet even she says the following:

“Can a girl get to Formula 1?” mused Michele Mouton, the chair of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, and a great rally driver in the early 1980s. “Sure, if it is the right girl, with the right skills and the right opportunities. It is a simple truth that women do not often get a chance with a top car; they do not get sufficient testing. You need all of that, but I am sure that a girl can do that. That, though, is not the real question. The big question is whether a woman can win in Formula 1 and I am not so sure about that. Men and women are different. We are not built the same way and I think the biggest difference is in terms of emotions and sensibilities. I never had a problem going at top speed with a 300ft drop right next to my car, but on a race track when you are doing 300kmh down a straight you feel lighter, more exposed, or at least I did. I think that women have a stronger sense of self-preservation than men. It is an instinct that is more developed in the woman than in the man. And I think this is important when you come to that last hundredth of a second. A woman can work up to the top level but men will just do it. Boom. Flat out. I hope that I am wrong in my analysis and that it is not really like that but that is what I think. The other important point is that circuit racing is different to rallying. On a circuit you are in direct confrontation with men and there is always the chance that, rather letting themselves be beaten by a woman, the men will push you out!”

Michele Mouton

Sam Haysom said...

When did girls start wearing baggy shorts to play basketball. I remember when I was at the International School in Brussels someone accidentally ordered a set of girls' away uniforms for our team. We had to tape the shorts to our boxers in order to get the shorts to reach even our knees the shorts were so short and tight. Maybe the NCAA should just track down our team manager and ask him who he purchased our jerseys from.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't G.W. Bush spend a lot of his retirement hanging out at women's basketball games at Baylor? Kind of saystit all, in a way.

Truth said...

"
"i actually expect MLS games to pass NCAA basketball games in a decade. regular season NCAA basketball games on television, nobody watches most of those. they're random and stupid to be honest."

The 2nd biggest watched tourney in US, after the superbowl, is the final four. NOTHING comes close, MLS wise, to the NCAA tourney. If you really think that one day MLS's playoffs will challenge the Final Four, well,...what can be said."

No, no, I agree with Jody on this one, soccer is our future!, not only will it pass the NCAA, but the NBA championship and the superbowl!


Sincerely:

Pele
Georgio Chinaglia
Franz Bekenbauer
And the rest of your 1977 World Champion New York Cosmos!

Julian O'Dea said...

agnostic:

"It lets them feel sexy without feeling cheap and whorish, since legs are not so central to the act of sex."

I think you are doing it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with Anon at 4:10 pm on the much greater aesthetic appeal of six-on-six Iowa girls' hoops. I grew up in IA just before the switch to five-on-five.

I was very disappointed when Iowa gave up their sweet and quirky tradition, and in so doing threw away what was a much more enjoyable game to watch.

There were numerous girls who averaged 50 points a game; game scores often regularly in the 80s and 90s. All in all, it was a fast-paced, passing-oriented, wide-open game that suited girls very well indeed.

Playing this more suitable game meant Iowa had a long, storied girls' hoops tradition, with high participation rates and lots of spectator enthusiasm, far before Title IX tried to force people to like girls' sports.

A couple of good links if anyone's interested:

Public TV documentary on the Iowa girls' game

Iowa six-on-six girls' scoring records -- note that the all-time record was set by Denise Long in 1969 at a cool 68.5 pts/game.

David Davenport said...

What then about women in motor sports?

Technically, I can see some advantages to lighter women in the "cockpit" but one never gets to see them as attractive women on the race course. Fast reflexes are necessary as is some modicum of upper body strength. A downside is the aggressiveness required in some forms of racing. An early pioneer was a lady dragster driver who required neither.

Danica Patrick

///////////

"i actually expect MLS games to pass NCAA basketball games in a decade. regular season NCAA basketball games on television, nobody watches most of those. they're random and stupid to be honest."

Male American, or males residing in America, soccer enthusiasts probably also wear those sissy bicycle outfits when bike riding.

Anonymous said...

women's volleyball in the Big 10 gets televised pretty often and seems to get large crowds. I guess 6' blondes in skintight short shorts doesn't have much to do with it...

Anonymous said...

I think you're basically right that the only women's sport that could ever be financially successful long-term is one where both men and women think the women look good playing that sport.

The only example i can think of is tennis and even that not since it turned into testosterone supplements and grunting.

Anonymous said...

and gymnastics except they'd need to be 18+.

Anonymous said...

"The key is good-looking women."

"Popularity of a female sport can't be solely a function of how attractive the women that compete are"

There are two versions of good -looking: hot-looking and wholesome-looking.

Hot-looking doesn't really work in a sporting context because if the sport itself is entertaining then the hotness and sport distract from each other and if the sport isn't entertaining then the hotness doesn't make up for it for long. Also hotness doesn't work for team sports - not for very long anyway - because their are too many to look at.

The only time hotness works in women's sport is if it's one on one and the sport itself adds to the hotness e.g. choreographed wrestling.

Wholesome good-looking can work but again can't be a team game as then there's too many to look at. You want just one, preferably wearing a nice but sexy outfit, playing a reasonably entertaining sport which - when you add the pleasure of looking at them - is enough to not mind switching the channel if the wife wants to watch them - which they might if the women look good playing it.

In other words tennis before the grunting.

Anonymous said...

The Williams brothers and grunting has definitely killed women's tennis for me.

MDR

Skeptical Economist said...

Female sports that might attract a wider audience? How about swimming and diving? Check out the Fresno State Women's Swim and Dive team.

Anonymous said...

"Female sports that might attract a wider audience? How about swimming and diving? Check out the Fresno State Women's Swim and Dive team."

Swimmings no good because they are under water too much.

Diving could work maybe. You get the looking part when they're stood on the board and the skill part is quite entertaining - no hair is a problem maybe (swimming caps) but otherwise possible.

Anonymous said...

In Formula One many corners create a force of 4G meaning that your head is being pushed into your chest and you need strong neck muscles to prevent this happening.

Skeptical Economist said...

Anonymous,

The Fresno State Swim and Dive girls have rather nice (long) hair. Check out http://bit.ly/146DC8h

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, the US Nat Women's Soccer Team played Korea today in exhibition match. Go girls, go!
GO!

Anonymous said...

Women's National Team kicked Korea 5-0. Abby Wambach just passed Mia Hamm's all time scoring record which means she has scored the most goals in Women's Soccer in international competition.
Awesome, girls! Just awesome!