TopOfTheCircle.com

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Feb. 12, 2016 — Driving the top line

I read an interview that was conducted yesterday with newly appointed WNBA president Lisa Borders.

As is usual when it comes to a league controlling the message, there was not a lot Borders shared with readers about expansion, collective bargaining, or making the WNBA more of a priority than the high-dollar leagues in Europe, Asia, and Oceania that have made the league little more than a summer hobby.

But what I heard in this one paragraph is a more aggressive marketing stance on the part of the former Coca-Cola Foundation executive:

…[I]f you step back and look at the business strategically, we have opportunities to grow the business, the top-line revenue, which comes from television ratings, attendance, sponsorships, merchandise sales. We need to drive the top line.

In other words, I hear a little bit of David Stern. Though there have been numerous monetization efforts in both the NBA and WNBA in the last few years (ads on the jerseys, corporate logos on the floor and on the basket stanchions, and sponsors for leaguewide awards), I think there could be an acceleration in the near future, especially if the United States wins Olympic gold in women’s basketball.

You see, the 2016 senior national team could wind up to be the best team ever assembled. The 25 players in the current pool include veterans like Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, veteran pros like Candace Parker, and exciting young players like Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner. Oh, and there’s every possibility that Breanna Stewart — currently posting once-in-a-generation stats at UConn — could make the final roster.

With a golden boost, the WNBA has a chance to once again find its footing as a prime summer marketing vehicle, especially given the crowded U.S. summer sports schedule. And I like what Borders said.

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