The WNBA has struggled throughout their 21 years of existence to draw high attendance and good TV ratings. Since their 1999 season, the WNBA has yet to hit an average attendance of 10,000 fans per game. This past year, they only averaged 171,000 viewers during their regular season games. With these statistics being so bad, the players aren’t able to stay here in the states to better their game or run camps to build their and the WNBA’s brand. What are effective ways that the WNBA can change these statistics for the better? Here are three solutions that could aid the WNBA fan base
Market the Ticket Prices and Fan Entertainment
Ticket prices for any single game are anywhere from $15 to $50. $50 may sound expensive, but most of the seats available to purchase are in the lower bowl section, meaning you will be close to the action. These ticket prices make for a great opportunity to market cheap entertainment. They could also market date nights, family nights, and different themes for kids to encourage people to attend these games. Ticket prices could be included in this promotion. For example, a team could run a theme for a game marketing Star Wars night and kids get in for $10 each.
Many people don’t go to sporting events because of the game itself. Many just want to go to games because of the atmosphere and social reasons. If WNBA fans market their games more towards these people, they may gain new WNBA fans, who could potentially fall in love with a team just from attending a few games. This allows them to diversify their fan base from just basketball fans. Now, during the summer months in the sports world, there are baseball games and WNBA, so why not go to an affordable WNBA game?
More Exhibition Games in Different Markets
If there are more exhibition WNBA games being played throughout the United States, more people will be exposed to the WNBA, and they can get a feel for an expansion teams as well. Given that two teams come and play once a year in a city, more people would be inclined to go out and see the talent that is displayed nightly in the WNBA. These two teams could also host a fan event before the game allowing fans to build a connection with the players.
The WNBA could also use exhibition games to get a feel for a fan base. For example, if the Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun played in Birmingham and they somehow drew 10,000 people, the WNBA could induce Mississippi State fans are willing to travel to see Victoria Vivians play and/or Birmingham could potentially be a strong market for a WNBA team. More exhibition games not only build awareness towards the WNBA brand, but also allows them to scope out potential spots for new WNBA teams if they decide to expand.
WNBA Needs a Better Social Media Strategy
If anyone follows a certain team, you will see Tweets and Instgram and Facebook posts getting you ready for the upcoming season. However, this isn’t enough. Anyone, who takes a peek at WNBA teams’ social media, realizes that there is hardly any fan engagement. Take for example, the Memphis Grizzlies’ social media team engages fans on a regular basis. Their social media manager, Amara Baptist, does a great job of retweeting and reposting fan posts on all the Memphis Grizzlies’ social media accounts. She also does a great job of responding to fans on a regular basis. She also uses her personal accounts to engage with fans as well. This allows fans to feel like they are being heard from the team. The WNBA needs more Amara Baptists that run their social media. They do a good job keeping fans up-to-date on the team, but need to keep their fans engaged on social media to build more of an emotional connection to the teams.
This list is not a comprehensive list about all the things the WNBA could be doing better to market their product. There’s so many other ideas that the WNBA could consider to enhance their reach of fans. They have struggled to find many fans outside of their 12 team markets, which needs to be improved upon. The players aren’t getting enough salary so they have to play in Europe over the regular basketball season. This needs to change and the WNBA needs to take the necessary steps like I suggest to improve their fan-base. If you want a more detailed list, check out Sue Favor’s list of WNBA marketing ideas.