Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sports Feminists vs. The Market


In 2009, more than 23 million sports fans attended a professional basketball game. But fans evinced significantly greater interest in the men’s NBA, which captured 92.3 percent (21.39 million) of the total attendance, while women’s professional basketball (WNBA) attracted only 7.7 percent of the total number of basketball fans (1.77 million, see chart above). In other words, 12 basketball fans attended an NBA game in 2009 for every one fan that attended a WNBA game.

Given the fact that fan interest in men’s basketball was 12 times greater than for women’s basketball, wouldn’t it be natural to expect that media coverage for the NBA would be much greater than for the WNBA? Well, that’s exactly what a recent study by the Center for Feminist Research (University of Southern California) found in its study “Gender in Televised Sports"—the NBA got greater media coverage in 2009 than the WNBA, by a factor of 3.5 to 1 (see chart).

You would think the sports feminists would be thrilled. After all, the WNBA got only 7.7 percent of the attendance at professional basketball games in 2009, but women’s basketball received a disproportionately larger share of the media coverage, at 22.2 percent of the total. Therefore, using attendance as a direct measure of fan interest, men’s pro basketball was significantly under-reported by the media (it got 92 percent of total attendance but only got 78 percent of media coverage), and women’s pro basketball was significantly over-reported (it had 7.7 percent of attendance, but got almost three times that share of media coverage).

But the sports feminists and gender activists aren't thrilled at all, they're actually really upset.  Find out why here.

11 Comments:

At 8/12/2010 7:40 PM, Blogger Matt Burgess said...

I wonder what a comparison of gate receipts would look like. That would then start to control for quality differences.

 
At 8/12/2010 8:35 PM, OpenID American Delight said...

For sports that highlight grace & flexibility (like gymnastics or iceskating), focusing on female athletes is natural.

For sports that highlight power & speed, however...

 
At 8/13/2010 6:29 AM, Blogger Dr William J McKibbin said...

Women's sports has yet to find its voice and place in the larger scope of professional sports, but I do think the feminists have a point. I would like to see women find a place in gate receipts in the future. Women's golf has always interested me for example. But, I'm not really a fan of women's basketball for some reason. Soccer may be the gender neutral sport of the future, but who knows. But yes, we need to advance more women's sports as a society...

 
At 8/13/2010 7:56 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

"But yes, we need to advance more women's sports as a society..."

Why?

Why shouldn't we let free men and free women exercise their free choice and then let the chips fall where they may?

Why do people insist on imposing their sports values on others?

My daughter has no interest in sports. My son has a great interest in sports. This is a result of nature. I took both of them to the same sporting events and they both sat with me on Saturday afternoons and watched college football.

Why swim against the stream of nature and evolution?

 
At 8/13/2010 7:58 AM, Blogger reprise8 said...

The foundation upon which PC crowd stands is psychology. And one of the basic premises of psychology is that we don't really have free will - what we are is the product of our environment and experiences. Using that as a frame of reference we can understand "where the feminists are coming from". They believe that the reason the attendance is low is because the coverage is lacking. People freely making choices to attend the mens' games simply is not a possibility in their world.

 
At 8/13/2010 9:02 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

from yesterday's email:

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

 
At 8/13/2010 9:03 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Does anyone but family and friends watch the WNBA?

 
At 8/13/2010 9:04 AM, Blogger juandos said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/13/2010 6:28 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

""I would like to see women find a place in gate receipts in the future."

Well, they have a place in gate receipts. It's a small one. I can only assume that people who want to see women's sports are doing so. Do you think we should all perhaps buy tickets to games we aren't interested in? Are you doing your share?

Maybe an NBA ticket should only be available if I buy a WNBA ticket also.

"But yes, we need to advance more women's sports as a society..."

No we don't. Women who are interested in participating should do so, and people who are interested in watching or promoting should do so.

What is it that you think is missing or unfair or whatever point it is you are trying to make, that we should advance more women's sports as a society?

 
At 8/13/2010 8:57 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I would like to see women find a place in gate receipts in the future"...

So what's stopping you Doc from pumping up those gate receipts with money out of your wallet?

"But yes, we need to advance more women's sports as a society"...

"We"?

You have a mouse in your pocket?

Just kidding...

The fact is that 'if' people thought that watching 2nd rate sports was worth it, they would do so...

American Delight named off a couple of heavy duty gate draws and one should also consider womens' tennis which is also has a very good draw...

reprise8 says: "They believe that the reason the attendance is low is because the coverage is lacking"...

Well then this is the feminists' big chance to make a change by starting up their own sports broadcasting business and cover womens' events to their hearts' desire...

 
At 8/13/2010 10:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Why do people insist on imposing their sports values on others?"

Bob Wright, I would be tickled s***less if it was ONLY sports values. I could almost handle that. :-)

 

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