December 23, 2010

How to get people to watch women's sports: "1. More singing.... 2. No more uniforms.... 3. More dating intrigue."

Joel Achenbach is using the hoary old tactic of trying to get a rise out of the feminists.
1. More singing. When U-Conn tips off against FSU with the all-time record on the line, we know that U-Conn is going to clobber the overmatched Seminoles. But what if the teams were also required to conduct a singing competition at halftime and, say, in the closing seconds? And they don't know if they'll have to do a hip-hop number or some country-and-western? Nothing but suspense.

2. No more uniforms. I am not suggesting nudity! I am suggesting that, rather than the players wearing identical outfits, they get to wear whatever they want, ideally clothes that they have personally made. And not even with real fabric, but with items purchased at, say, a hardware store! And this would be rated by judges. A player could have a rough night at the free throw line, making only three of ten shots, but she could still come out with extra points for having fashioned her outfit out of a heavy industrial tarp.

3. More dating intrigue. Break-ups, hook-ups, emotional anguish, betrayal, reconciliation. Friendships damaged and repaired. Gossip. Melodrama! Less emphasis on teamwork, more emphasis on the mating competition. If you can't steal the ball, maybe you can steal a boyfriend. Nothin' but viewers, my friends.

29 comments:

Richard Dolan said...

"How to get people to watch women's sports."

Forget 'people' and focus on other women. Other than beach volley ball, it's probably a non-starter with men.

AllenS said...

Only one girl on the U-Conn basketball team is from Connecticut.

damikesc said...

Not to be rude, but women's sports tend to be really bad outside of things like tennis and gymnastics. The WNBA is a charity case and if not for ESPN's over-the-top promotion, few would know women's college basketball is even occurring because the games are rather tedious. Women's sports is going to be niche forever.

cubanbob said...

All that is needed is hot chicks and skimpy outfits. With that alone one can get a huge audience just out of shuffleboard. The rest is commentary.

Lucien said...

A "hoary old tactic" to "get a rise out of"?

Let's take another look at those . . .

rcocean said...

The WaPo article asks the wrong question. Its not "Why don't more people watch Women's sports? Its "Why does anyone watch?"

And I hope Joel isn't paid to be funny.

Pastafarian said...

I'd watch volleyball (not the beach crap, but actual indoor volleyball) if they showed it more often.

And I watched curling quite a bit during the olympics.

edutcher said...

Does no more uniforms translate to naked?

rcocean said...

Yes, I too will watch Women's Volleyball - if the girls are cute enough.

traditionalguy said...

The new Women's Topless Trampoline sport should out draw the NFL. The games would have call in voters that select their Tramp of the night, right after Paula Abdul gives her cuteness rating on their jumping skills. The exciting question will be whether Bristol Palin will compete and win one for the family honor.

HKatz said...

Women ski-jumpers are pretty amazing to watch.

I don't watch much sports in general, but I've always found Olympics women's events to be as interesting as men's events at the Olympics. I especially like gymnastics, swimming, volleyball, and track events. Oh, and in winter time figure-skating is great too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Does no more uniforms translate to naked?

Don't really want to see women softball and basketball players naked. Thanks.

traditionalguy said...

Hey, ballet is already a popular women's sport and it is done almost undressed.

Youngblood said...

Achenbach may be an ass, but his point is valid. The people most interested in sports (men) have no interest in watching women play most sports, and the people who tend to not watch sports (women) have no interest in watching them even if the players are also women.

I'm too lazy to click the link, but does Achenbach talk about Title IX? If so, that seems to be a trend that's picking up steam.

Opposition to Title IX hasn't been a major issue since the Conservatives dropped it around 2002/2003 or so, but now it's coming back with a vengeance.

virgil xenophon said...

Basketball-wise, with the exception of *weird* Iowa, where girls HS Basketball is THE RAGE, the problem with most female hoopsters for white males is the glaring un-PC truth that all too many look like Imus' "Butt-ugly, Nappy-headed Ho's."

virgil xenophon said...

Youngblood hits on a good tangential point. Title IX has all but destroyed most men's collegiate "minor" sports teams in a femineista attempt to "level" the playing field at a) a time when women predominate in total enrollees and degrees granted despite b) the fact that in terms of interest as measured by rates/% of voluntary participation in intramural sports women demonstrate distinctly lower rates than their male counterparts as well as fewer absolute numbers despite being a majority of the student body, i.e., a lack of interest as compared to men.

Cedarford said...

damikesc said...
Not to be rude, but women's sports tend to be really bad outside of things like tennis and gymnastics.
=============
The woman's tennis game sucks these days. Even the Slams have a problem filling the seats for a womans tennis match. Some are good looking though. And some who are good looking are actually decent players in 1 of 3 of the matches they do - and who don't scream on every point.
Gymnastics is 5'1 to 4'6" teens with prepubescent bodies doing stunts.
Womans basketball is heavy on the shrieking and lesbianism, low on talent approaching what guys playing the game can do. UConn "breaking" the UCLA record? Please. Apples and oranges.

Good womens sports where they are as, or even more graceful and pleasurable to watch as performing male athletes? Women's volleyball. Woman's figure skating. Women high jumpers and pole vaulters (though they obviously can't get as high as top men).
I'd add women's ski jump aerialists, though a dirty secret is that half the elite jumpers have had knee surgery or orthopedic braces with springs or steel flex-strips made part of their attire because female knee ligaments can't stand the punishment or heal as fast as the men jumpers.
You also get "outliers" in the female ranks - a few that can drive, do plane stunts, snowboard as well as some of the best men. Danica Patrick in racing, Torah Bright on snowboard (both extremely good looking young women as well).

But "outlier" arguments are the same as saying women are just as good in front line combat roles because 1 in 500 women could be good, vs. 198 out of 500 randomly picked young men.

fivewheels said...
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fivewheels said...
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fivewheels said...

It's not a hoary tactic, it's a hoary point: Women don't watch women's sports, which is why they founder as spectator sports (rather than as participatory sports). Women watch American Idol, Project Runway, and The Hills (Achenbach's 3 categories) while guys are watching the NFL and people on ESPN talking about the NFL.

A lot of feminists reflexively blame men for everything, which is exactly what Geno Auriemma just did in regards to coverage of women's sports. But women should be at least half accountable for the fate of women's spectator sports.

(had a little trouble linkifying)

Comrade X said...

The other night I was stoked for the U-Conn game. They were going to try to win their 89th game in a row, passing the record set in men's basketball by the legendary John Wooden and UCLA in the early 1970s.

I know how they feel. I recently went undefeated 19-0 in Madden 2010 surpassing the achievement of the 1972 Miami Dolphins. I'm ready for my closeup ESPN.

stevenehrbar said...

The problem is that minor league sports universally don't get the viewership of major leagues.

People watch Major League Baseball, not AAA. They watch NHL, not AHL. They watch NBA, not D-League or ABA or the old CBA. They watch FBS college football, not FCS or Division II.

Women's leagues are minor leagues; they specifically exclude the best players of the sport in order to give women a chance. The best player in the WNBA would be a 12th at best on an NBA team. The best female golfer in the world proved she wasn't even a middle-of-the-pack golfer by PGA standards.

---

By the way, wouldn't the real feminist approach be to eliminate women's teams, and instead have men and women compete for spots on a single team? If (for example) Ford decided to give women maximum opportunity by segregating all of its women executives and workers into the Mercury division, with Ford being all men, would that gain feminist approval as equality?

k*thy said...
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edutcher said...

HKatz said...

Women ski-jumpers are pretty amazing to watch.

Especially when they split their tights.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Does no more uniforms translate to naked?

Don't really want to see women softball and basketball players naked. Thanks.


I've seen some lady softballers who must be scrumptious in the buff.

Leo Ladenson said...

NPR has been on a crusade to promote women's sports for years. You know, there's a market failure there, so Public Radio has to step in.

virgil xenophon said...

stevenehrbar/

The road only runs one way with the women and college sports. When asked why, if women should be allowed to try out for the men's tennis team if they are "good enough" to make the team, why men shouldn't be allowed to try out for the women's team, coaches of women's teams uniformly reply: "Why then there wouldn't be any women on the woman's teams!

knox said...

The new Women's Topless Trampoline sport

Ow.

Youngblood said...

Virgil,

The thing that brought Title IX back from the dead fairly recently was that Berkeley axed its men's rugby team after a great season, and another major school axed its men's gymnastics team.

The Berkeley team did fantastically last season, and it was making enough money to support itself, and it still got axed.

It would be easy to say something like, "Oh, that' so Berkeley," but Title IX is federal law.

Trooper York said...

Most men wouldn't go to a womens sports event even if the woman agreed to have sex with them after the game.

Wait I take that back.

Most men wouldn't go to a womens sports event especially if they agreed to have sex with them after the game.