Friday, April 11, 2003

I take back what I said about Page 2:

Where I live, I got to see UConn's first round annihilation of Boston University, a game UConn led at halftime 49-22. Is showing this debacle really "growing" the sport? And how ironic that Boston University was served up as UConn's sacrificial lamb. Boston University, you'll remember, is a school that lost its entire football team to Title IX compliance. One would have thought that without big-time football's "drain" on the athletic program the women of BU could put up better numbers.

The Nielsen ratings for this first-round tourney action? A puny 0.34 (294,902 households).

Let's put that in perspective. Remember the XFL on NBC? The pro-wrestling inspired football league lost parent company General Electric something in the neighborhood of $50 million and was canceled after one season, due to low ratings. Well, the XFL championship game between the Los Angeles Xtreme and the San Francisco Demons garnered a 2.1 (2,157, 000 households). Here's more perspective: The 2002 championship game of the WNBA garnered a 1.0 rating (1,085,000 households) on NBC, the same network which ruthlessly cut the XFL. Yet the WNBA is now in its seventh season on network television.

In men's sports, ratings are everything. With women's sports, no one cares so long as you're "on message." (The WNBA is so political that its website has an entire zone devoted to "Show Your Support for Title IX.")

The infuriating thing is that there are plenty of sports where the women's game is equally, if not more, enjoyable to watch than the men's. And it doesn't require charity and hype to get people to tune in. We've got tennis, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and figure skating. But no, the girl-power publicity machine is not going to be satisfied. They're going to jam women's basketball down your throat UNTIL YOU LIKE IT!

Sports programming should be about entertainment, not waging the gender wars on our television sets.
Amen, sister.

Hat Tip: Ben Domenech.

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