Pandemic led to unprecedented WNBA media protection

However within the low season the league drops out of sight once more

The 2020 WNBA season, with all of the uncertainty associated to a pandemic, the well being and security protocols inside a first-ever “Wubble” towards the real-time happenings outdoors of it, together with the competitors on the court docket—all this was, in a phrase, unprecedented.

However as soon as the season sometimes ends, the W basically turns into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind league till the springtime, when draft time rolls round. No different professional sports activities does such a disappearing act.

“I actually hope the WNBA doesn’t vanish till the draft…” tweeted Ben W., a longtime Minnesota Lynx fan. “The WNBA vanishes off the face of the earth till the next February or so.”

We requested League Commissioner Cathy Engelbert about this throughout a pre-Finals media name. She responded, “Our evaluation from a advertising perspective is we have to market extra within the off season.”

“We have been going to be doing the advertising agreements with gamers who didn’t go abroad so we wouldn’t have an out-of-sight, out-of-mind. In all probability not as massive and daring as we thought we have been going to do… We’re nonetheless planning on that,” Engelbert stated.

The second-year commish pledged that issues can be totally different this low season. “We’re planning quite a lot of issues, promotional issues, over the course of the low season,” continued Engelbert.

“Completely I feel it’s a terrific thought to proceed having these connections with the media, since you assist draw publicity to what the gamers are doing, the storylines, how we’re preparing for the 25th season, how the Olympic athletes are preparing for these nationwide group experiences.

“So, sure Charles, completely, that is definitely a part of our technique, so extra to come back on that,” she promised.

Low season protection isn’t an issue for this longtime WNBA reporter, however it’s for the male-dominated PWM (primarily White media) who sometimes deal with the longtime girls’s league like a pox on the sports activities panorama.  

Due to the pandemic, the league acquired unprecedented protection. There have been almost 90 nationally televised video games, and “the standard of the play on the court docket was wonderful,” the commish reported. Viewership numbers have been up: 68% improve in common season common viewership throughout all networks, thanks in nice half to a giant improve in video games on the ESPN Community, and the first-ever WNBA sport on the CBS Tv Community.” 

Similar massive numbers on social media as effectively: “30% % improve in cross-platform common motion for social posts,” continued Engelbert. “With out followers within the area, we piloted a Faucet to Cheer [app]. It led to an 85% improve in common weekly cellular app downloads. We had 109 million complete faucets.

“Key matchups and dependable fan bases additional fueled that engagement,” led by Las Vegas’ 22 million faucets from their followers  and over 5.6 million faucets for the Sept. 13 Aces-Seattle contest, which was the very best single sport mark this season.

“We’re already state of affairs planning for subsequent yr,” stated Engelbert. “My number-one precedence [for the off-season] is promoting and advertising the league, persevering with to promote and market the league.  The important thing can be to proceed to market the gamers, the personalities, market the rivalries that have been fashioned this yr.

“This low season has acquired to be a really vital time in advertising our gamers from younger to veteran, as a result of there’s such nice tales. We’re on the tip of this publicity round these gamers,” she stated. “We’ll be engaged on that, and also you’ll be seeing hopefully a special method to market them on this low season.”

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