Over the last season, the WNBA has seen a substantial increase in ratings, engagements on social media and merchandise sales. Giving her perspective on this growth, Sue Bird from the Seattle Storm said it feels like “the country has finally caught up.”
“It seems like we’ve been having to fight for certain things from a social justice standpoint,” Bird said, touching upon the diverse group of talent visible in the WNBACity National Bank Supports EIF’s Disaster Relief Program With $100,000 Sponsorship (EXCLUSIVE). “The media coverage is something that we’re hammering about. Four percent of the media coverage goes to female athletes. That’s insane.”
In the Variety Sports and Entertainment panel presented by City National Bank, Todd Burach, the senior vice president for sports and entertainment at City National Bank, spoke with Bird as well as Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike from the Los Angeles Sparks. They discussed how today’s players are navigating the rising profile of their league all while balancing their interest in brands beyond basketball.
Chiney Ogwumike said female athletes in sports are often told to just play the sport and then everything else that comes with it is on the back burner. However, the league is starting to embrace that it’s a league full of varied women entrepreneurs, mothers and more.
“We are women that compete at a high level and balance jobs and having families and all of the day-to-day obligations,” Ogwumike said. “You have mothers that are bringing their children to games and into practice, and then also winning MVPs and are champions of this league. So I think that aspect of embracing who we are, especially from that note and realizing that we have a space that is, has room for growth.”
Watch the full conversation above.