Final WNBA attendence numbers.....

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by USAsoccer, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. USAsoccer

    USAsoccer Member

    Jul 15, 1999
    Tampa, Florida
    Commentary to follow:

    1.) Washington 15,306..15,258...15,417..16,202 +5
    2.) New York - 14,047..14,498...15,660..14,670 -5
    3.) Los Angeles - 7625...6,563....9278....11,651 +25
    4.) Houston - 11,906...12,255...11,314...10,866 -4

    5.) Cleveland - 9350.....8,596.....9211.....9,318 +1
    6.) Sacramento - 8626...7,928....8350....9,011 +8
    7.) Miami -.....N/A.......7,983.......8845....8,828
    8.) Portland - N/A.......8,317.....8604....8,737 +1
    9.) Indiana - ....N/A.....11,267.....8683....8,434 -3
    10.) Phoenix - 12,219....10,067.....8561....8,041 -7
    11.) Minnesota -10,494...7,290....7538...7,819 +3
    12.) Utah - .....7544.....6,465......6907...7,420 +7
    13. Orlando - ...9081.....7,363.....7430....7,115 -4
    14.) Seattle - ..N/A......8,912.....5954....6,985 +17
    15.) Charlotte -7081.....5,685.....6595....6,667 +1
    16.) Detroit -....8485....6,706.....6834....5,886 -13

    YEAR 2-1998 Average WNBA attendence-10,839
    YEAR 3-1999 Average WNBA attendance: 10,189.
    YEAR 4- 2000 Average WNBA attendance: 9,072.
    YEAR 5-2001 Average WNBA attendence - 9074
    YEAR 6-2002 TO DATE AVERAGE-9,218


    1) Attendence went up from the Allstar (halfway point) game from 8400 to 9200.

    2) Seattle, Detriot, Washington, LA, Cleveland and Houston all showed increases of 1000 (or more) fans per game average from week 8 to week 16.

    3) August is always the WNBA best month (for whatever reason-me thinks they cook the books, but that is another story)

    4) This years slight increase in attendence comes from specifically 2 directions.

    a) LA and Sacremento, who force season ticket holders from their NBA teams into buying WNBA tickets (a practice that is beggining to wain...)

    b) Washington Mystics, who are the only WNBA team that is profitable.


    1) After 6 years, the WNBA is viable in only 4 markets: Washington, New York, LA and Houston. 12 of the 16 teams are at or below the WNBA average. The median and the mean are way below the average attendence (which is skewed by the big four)

    2) Cleveland and Sacremento numbers are extremely exaggerated by as much as 30 percent a game.

    3) The rest of the league is a black hole of debt all the way into the foreseeable future.

    4) Their would be NO "W" without the NBA. All in all, it makes the WUSA existance all the more remarkable (in light of not having a sugar daddy like the NBA around).
  2. Northside Rovers

    Jan 28, 2000
    Austin TX
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just asking - but where are you getting information that leads you to believe the WNBA is cooking the books, more specifically why do you single out Charlotte and Cleveland?

    I think you may be right - but I am basing my opinion solely based on the odd crowd shot I see on ESPN Sportscenter.
  3. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Information? Information? Oh, sorry, I thought you said speculation. ;)
  4. Paul Nasta

    Paul Nasta Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    Long Island
    You can spin these numbers any way you want. 9 of the 16 teams showed attendance increases and a 10th team stayed about the same as last year. After declining for a few years, the league-wide average has gone up. That doesn't sound too bad and, in fact, sounds a lot like what MLS has been trumpeting as signs of stability/success.

    As to how many of these teams are 'viable', I'm not sure why you put the cutoff right after the big four. Since salaries for WNBA players are probably pretty low, and the teams have low overhead, who's to say that a team drawing 7-8K isn't 'viable'?

    Now if these numbers are artificially inflated, I suppose the picture is pretty bleak. But why do you say with such certainty that the Cleveland and Sacramento numbers are exaggerated by 30% per game?
  5. USAsoccer

    USAsoccer Member

    Jul 15, 1999
    Tampa, Florida
    Paul, Northside.... here are some numbers I hope will answer your questions.

    .......Team.......Midway.......Final attendence
    1.) Washington -15,289 -7....16,202
    2.) New York - ...13,060 -7...14,670
    3.) Sacramento - 10,122-6....9,011
    4.) Los Angeles - 9,882 - 7....11,651
    5.) Houston - ....9,773 - 7.....10,861
    6.) Indiana - .....8,439- 5......8,434
    7.) Phoenix - .....8,039 - 9.....8,041
    8.) Orlando - .....7,963 - 5.....7,115
    9.) Minnesota -..7,699 - 6......7,819
    10.) Cleveland - 7,601 - 8......9,318
    11.) Miami -......7,419 - 7......8,828
    12.) Portland - ..7,235 - 9......8,737
    13.) Charlotte -..6,023 - 5.....6,667
    14.) Utah - ......5,993 - 7......7,420
    15.) Seattle - ...5,226 - 9......6,985
    16.) Detroit -.....4,935 - 6......5,886

    I pointed out Cleveland and Sacremento for a reason.

    1) Cleveland's went up by 1700 fans. In other words, Cleveland had to average about 11,000 fans a game for their last eight games. Historically, Cleveland has never ever averaged close to that number.

    2) Sacremento had a terrible team. There attendence early on was helped by the fact that they forced their NBA customers to attend early games. After they got a taste of WNBA ball, the attendence went south on them.

    3) As for Detriot, Seettle and Utah, their attendence was so low midway, that one big game could have a real attendence impact for each team.

    4) More telling is the middle teams: Orlando, Indy, Phoenix and Minnesota. Notice that attendence stayed pretty even all season long. That seems to me to be what is more truthful than this concept of big crowds showing up every August.

    *****The fact is that the WNBA inflates their numbers toward the end of the season to make it appear that things are better than they really are. The midway numbers are closer to the truth then the final numbers. This has been the trend with the league for the last three seasons, but was not what happened in years 1 through 3. This pecular happening only started when attendence in the WNBA began to head south bigtime. That started in year 4. Which was the same year that August became a big attendence month.

    I hope that helps, but if not, I will take another crack at it tomorrow.

    Bottom line is that no league gives away more freebees than the WNBA. And no league inflates their number (percentage wise) then the WNBA.

    Prove me wrong!
  6. USAsoccer

    USAsoccer Member

    Jul 15, 1999
    Tampa, Florida
    PS... If you think New York average over 16,000 fans a game the last half of the season, I have land to sell you south of my location...
  7. MtMike

    MtMike Member+

    Nov 18, 1999
    the 417
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    SWEET!!!!! I've been looking for land in Miami!!!! :D
  8. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Respectfully, "fact"? Shouldn't you say "my inference is"? You have no proof, no facts, only what you infer is happening.

    I have no knowledge of whether or not the WNBA gives tickets away, how many, or how badly they fudge their attendance. I imagine I could find out, since I know some people in the league, but the bottom line is, you don't know. You're making an inference. To say it's a "fact" is simply not supported by the facts, because you have no facts.

    Follow me on this: MLS attendance peaks in July (for whatever reason). MLB attendance peaks in July (for whatever reason). I have not run the numbers to see if this holds up for other sports, but what if it does? What if, for whatever reasons, summer sports just do best late in the summer?

    It's long been said that minor league hockey can't sell tickets until after the first of the year. I haven't checked that to see if it's true, but what if it is? What if there are certain times of the year, for whatever reasons, that things peak?

    That's as much of an inference on my part as your "facts". And I mean that in the nicest possible way, not trying to flame you at all.

    Why do I have to prove you wrong? You can't prove yourself right! Again, with all respect, and not trying to flame you, this is like me saying, "You beat your wife, don't you? Prove that you don't!"
  9. My friend works for the NBA as a production assistant in Secaucus. He told me they inflate their numbers like crazy. He said NY sometimes reports 16k at the garden when the place isnt even half full. Considering the garden holds 19K, thats probably like 8k at the game. He said this goes on all over the league. Also, he said they give away lots of free tickets just so it doesnt look so bad on tv.
  10. Paul. A

    Paul. A Member

    Mar 16, 1999
    Wales, UK
    Even if they averaged 2,000 they would still get a small section and photograph in my local newspaper; MLS never seems to get a photo, just a few brief scores, yet we average more people.
  11. Thats what pisses me off more than anything about the WNBA, the coverage they get compared to MLS. MLS averages like twice the amount of fans and gets similar tv ratings yet everytime I open the sports page there are half page stories and pictures about the wnba yet virtually nothing on mls. I would love to know how these editors justify that kind of coverage for the wnba.
  12. Ian McCracken

    Ian McCracken Member

    May 28, 1999
    SS Lazio Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Detroit hired Bill Laimbeer (former Piston great) as head coach of their WNBA team in midseason. I think that has a lot to do with improved attendance. Regardless, the Detroit franchise is most likely moving to San Antonio for next season.
  13. eatasing

    eatasing New Member

    Aug 14, 2002
    1) MLS & WNBA tv ratings are nowhere near to
    being "similar."
    2) So.... wonder what you think of this: ?

    Note: check tv tidbit at bottom of page.
  14. Stogey23

    Stogey23 Member+

    Dec 12, 1998
    San Diego, CA
    Re: Re: Final WNBA attendence numbers.....

    What is your point?
  15. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Re: Final WNBA attendence numbers.....

    Usual MLS rating on ABC: 0.8
    Usual WNBA rating (this year, at least) on NBC: 0.9

    You're right, they're way off.
  16. eatasing

    eatasing New Member

    Aug 14, 2002
    Re: Re: Re: Final WNBA attendence numbers.....

    Point is: WNBA All-Star game televised in 178 countries, in 24 different languages...pretty impressive I'd say. Wonder how MLS's All-Star game telecast stacked up with that? Maybe there's a ton of clueless, misguided tv folks running around out there somewhere. Maybe someone needs to give them a clue. Never mind the fact most, if not all, of them are in the BUSINESS of telecasting.
  17. trickyfool

    trickyfool New Member

    Feb 11, 1999
    Orlando, FL
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Final WNBA attendence numbers.....

    You don't think that had anything to do with the influence of big daddy NBA? You think the game was shown in 178 on pure WNBA merits? Come on now...
  18. tcmahoney

    tcmahoney New Member

    Feb 14, 1999
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Final WNBA attendence numbers.....

    I have to agree, said the somewhat peeved ex-Seattle Reign fan.

    But in news sure to disappoint USAsoccer, the Seattle Storm are becoming the flavor du jour here in Seattle.

    To wander off-topic for a moment, if anyone wants to accuse us Seattleites of being frontrunners, well, guilty as charged as far as I'm concerned.

    But, as Rex Stout once had Nero Wolfe say, "Admit it? I proclaim it." In other words, it's a great thing. You can't get away with putting a crap product on the field in this town. You have to market it, and you have to win to get people to show up on a regular basis. Cubs fans might want to take notes.

    OK, back on topic. I've grown to find this topic amusing, on grounds that there really isn't much overlap between the two fan bases for the WNBA and MLS. There's me and my friend Jeff and that's about it as far as I know.
  19. USAsoccer

    USAsoccer Member

    Jul 15, 1999
    Tampa, Florida
    Tcmahoney... no disappointment from me. With Sue Bird, you have to think that has a lot a pull in Seattle.

    Kenn: All your points are very well taken. No insult taken by me!

    Poor use of words by me. However, I would point out that it has been widely reported, and is considered widely known that the WNBA inflates their numbers by close to a 1/3. Also, the freebees to WNBA games are larger than other leagues.

    Can I give you a source? Well, not today. I have seen this reported. I could always ask you to take my word for it.... :)
  20. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No worries. I don't know how their accounting works.

    There are all sorts of different "fudges" out there, and it seems like we can never even agree what type of fudge somebody's using.

    Here are the fudges I can think of off the top of my head:

    1) You announce tickets distributed (which includes those sold and given away) instead of the actual number of bodies in the arena. This is not so much a fudge as a practice, most leagues announce paid attendance. What makes it kind of a fudge is if you include freebies in that total;

    2) You take the number of people in the stadium and multiply it by some factor to "inflate" the number and then release that; or

    3) You make up a number.

    It's entirely possible to sell a bunch of tickets (especially in a corporate situation, or a situation where you strongarm people into buying tickets to something they don't want as a condition of buying something they do want) and have a dearth of people in your building. If the NBA does strongarm big-money people into buying WNBA tickets to get NBA tickets, then

    (a) They're still tickets sold, it's still money in the coffers; and
    (b) if they didn't have the leverage to do that, they wouldn't be able to. That's one reason why the WNBA is not so much a league as it is a marketing arm of the NBA.

    What do we think the WNBA does?
  21. IsItSnowingInSpace

    Mar 20, 2000
    Orem UT
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    On the one hand I can understand why you'd want to start comparing MLS attendance numbers to WNBA numbers, but on the other hand it's not a fair comparison. And the bellyaching here won't accomplish anything.

    I hope I don't come off as an jerk... but it seems there's a lack of critical thinking going on here.

    Comparing the WNBA to MLS is like comparing apples to artichokes. If you want to have a meaningful discussion, why not compare the WNBA to the WUSA? But even that's not really even a fair comparison, because the WUSA doesn't have the backing the WNBA does. Nor is soccer as generally popular here as basketball is. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, isn't it? There are too many factors involved to make such statements as, "Damn it! It's not fair that the WNBA gets so much coverage while MLS languishes in a few tables on the pages of the sports section," sound very well-thought-out.

    But heck, this is BigSoccer, so let's over-simplify things as much as possible.
  22. John Galt

    John Galt Member

    Aug 30, 2001
    WNBA represents the success of Title IX, so it will likely get "above-market" coverage for a long, long time.
  23. Andy_B

    Andy_B Member+

    Feb 2, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What does this mean?

    Are you under some impression that the WNBA is in business for any other reason than the NBA owns it?

    The existence of the WNBA is no more representative of sucess of Title IX than the folding of the (better) ABL represents the failure of Title IX.

  24. John Galt

    John Galt Member

    Aug 30, 2001
    First, both the WNBA and ABL represent the success of Title IX. The failure of the ABL only represents the economic truism that only one major league can exist, and the one with more money tends to win.

    The second point is pretty simple, especially addressed to you as the one always posting TV ratings and assorted statistics to argue that MLS does not deserve any more coverage than it gets. Since the WNBA exists at least in part as a result of a law that many consider to be good public policy (and many do not) it will get coverage on that basis -- public policy reasons -- independent and apart from its market share as a sport. Women in pro sports is a good story, whereas guys playing soccer doesn't really have the same Dateline/60 Minutes kind of appeal to it. Thus, my point that WNBA will get more than its market share of coverage.
  25. Andy_B

    Andy_B Member+

    Feb 2, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I see your point, but I can't say I agree with it too much, especially as one of the people who hate what Title IX has turned into, but that is a discussion for another day.


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