By Cecilia Lazarin
Phoenix, Ariz.- Women’s basketball seems to have less of a fan base compared to that of the National Basketball Association. Despite this, the new addition of the top three rookies to the Women’s National Basketball Association seems to be bringing the spotlight to women.
While visiting The Walter Cronkite Summer Journalism Program, Tom Blodgett, sports editor for The Arizona Republic, was surprised to learn that in a group of 18 students only about five knew about The Phoenix Mercury.
Noting the differences between women’s and men’s basketball, Amber Cox said the only difference is the NBA gets far more publicity. Cox is the president and Chief Operating Officer of The Phoenix Mercury.
“We’re really in the early stages of developing our game and generating a fan base,” Cox said. “But at year 17, we are at a really great spot. We have a great core fan base, and it’s growing everyday.”
The NBA has been around since 1946. On the other hand, the WNBA has only been around since 1996.
Kandace Hurdle, public relations coordinator for the Phoenix Suns & Phoenix Mercury said, “With Brittney Griner coming in, roles have reversed, and now, more attention has been brought to women’s basketball.”
Cox said the addition of Brittney Griner boosts the team’s ticket sales.
“When she goes into a city, they’re selling a lot of extra tickets because people want to come out and see her play,” Cox said. “Not only Brittney, but the whole draft class: Skylar Diggings in Tulsa, Elena Delle Donne in Chicago. People really want to see those three specific rookies, and that just gives a lot of opportunity to bring in new fans.”
As a star player in college Griner brought attention to herself and her school. She homes to do the same with the Phoenix Mercury. Cox expects Griner to be a big star in the game and hopefully bring more attention into the world of women’s basketball.