How the WNBA Can Grow and Reach New Fans
With Basketball becoming one of the forefront sports across the country, its time for the WNBA to get the love and recognition it deserves. The league undoubtedly has taken a back seat in the professional sports world and has experienced some early growing pains.
Many point to the fact that its a female professional sport, but those rebuttals can quickly be put to rest as we have seen female soccer take off over the past 5-6 years.
So where can the WNBA Improve and Reach New Fans?
As we know marketing can make or break any professional company. Most companies struggle with targeting their market and capitalizing once they have their attention (if they get that far). The WNBA has been able to tap into that market, but I believe hasn’t been able to maintain their level of interest, mainly due to the lack of viral marketing (reminders of games and special guest in attendance). While its hard to compare the league to the NBA, its the only plausible comparison researchers like myself can draw from.
The WNBA must begin to market their special events (Latin Night, Special Performances, Possible Players reaching Records and surpassing them, Big Match-ups). The goal is here is to make the league seem larger than life and draw attention to the “entertain” aspect of the game. The Key to Professional Sports is to exploit that it is first and foremost an entertainment and second a sport. Yes that sounds backwards, but fans attend a game primarily for the entertainment factor. Reminding fans of the experience and talent they will be watching will draw fans to at-least attend 1 game. Once you have fans/consumers at games, you must engage them with entertainment so find ways to partner with local talent or big stars to make appearances and possible autograph signings. (I will expand on this with WNBA Partnerships).
Currently the average WNBA fan must have NBA TV, a premium channel on most cable networks. What does this scream? Limited Visibility of the Talented WNBA Players! If you cannot draw interest to the fans sitting at home, how can you draw them to a game? The NBA has grown internationally because of the level of visibility via the internet and television. Granted the NBA has a tremendous amount of growth and history behind it, but the key behind it all is VISIBILITY.
The WNBA must go back to the drawing board and figure out how they can get more air time on ESPN, ABC, FOX or any other cable channel that will allow their “target market” to see what the WNBA has to offer in 2012. Visibility will remind fans just how talented the players are today in the WNBA.
Strategic Partnerships are key for the WNBA to grow in this rough economy. With the NBA as their best friends, they must build on the fact that many of their fans are their target market. Having NBA Players make appearances and promote the WNBA and their entreprenuerial endeavors will benefit both parties. For Instance, Dwyane Wade is currently traveling the US promoting his newest book A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball. This is perfect partnership for the WNBA and Dwyane Wade as they can both benefit on the media exposure as well as the revenue they can both draw.
Having Player appearances will draw in their target market and remind fans that the WNBA is everything basketball. Also bringing in special Performing Guest for the Half-Time Show will be huge. The NBA has really under-estimated of a good half-time entertain as most fans take this time to visit the surrounding vendors (do not want to take from this revenue), but fans also typically leave right before half- time. Keeping them there is key with half time performances by star singers or performers.
Time to get Viral WNBA! Get a camera crew and start a WNBA Mini-Series. Fans would love to see what WNBA Players must do day in and day out to be a Professional Basketball Player. This will draw an incredible amount of interest by not only fans, but also endorsers. Reminding Fans just how incredible these females are will bring money back in the pockets of the WNBA Teams and Players.
In this Technology driven world, Professional Sports Team and Leagues must embrace the internet and learn how to profit from it. Using creative methods of marketing will continue to draw interest with fans and possible new markets.
These are my few suggestions for the WNBA to build and grow to a dominate professional Sport.
I would love to work hand in hand with the WNBA and the Players to make this happen.
I can be reached at 850-543-6119 or by email: AnthonyFernandez365@gmail.com