“To be honest with you, I don’t really know too much about it.” We’ve heard this quote (or something similar) from many players during post-game media availability when they were asked about the Commissioner’s Cup and its importance. The Cup was introduced this season with a $500,000 prize pool incentive, which one would think is enough to garner some interest. So why don’t any players know about it?
The WNBA is celebrating its 25th anniversary and the Commissioner’s Cup was introduced this year as part of the celebration. To clear up any confusion, here are the two main things you need to know as of right now:
- Duration of Cup: The games lasted until the Olympic break. Ten per team were designated as Commissioner’s Cup games. The final will now be played on August 12, before the start of the second half of the season.
- Final Matchup: The Connecticut Sun vs the Seattle Storm. Both of these teams finished first in their respective conferences in winning percentage of Commissioner Cup games.
This is all well and good, but there is a glaring problem here. The principles of the Commissioner’s Cup are solid: money incentives, conference rivalries, an extra game and viewership. However, it’s all gotten lost in the shuffle. This raises an underlying issue in a league that deserves to be at the top: communication. It’s no secret that the WNBA has made incredible strides in the sports landscape. There’s a ton of talent in the league and the athletes are loud and vocal in supporting important social justice issues. In a league that has been up-and-coming for a while now, the growth of women’s basketball has started to expand greatly. With this new attention, it has become time to adjust accordingly.
It starts with proper communication between the league and its players. The Commissioner’s Cup should have been something that was emphasized with greater detail at the start of the season, not only to the fans but to the people that were actually being affected by it.
So how do we do this?
I’m glad you asked: I have a couple of ideas.
For the league: Invest in proper marketing strategies. Make sure EVERYONE knows what is happening around the league and who it involves.
For the media: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A little research can go a long way into gaining insight from players and coaching staff.
For the fans: Follow the WNBA on social media and/or purchase league pass, so that you are able to stay in the loop with the latest information and accessibility to watch the games and support an ever growing league.
I cannot emphasize the importance of increasing the impact of the women’s league enough, and it’s about time we started paying attention. Make sure to catch the Commissioner’s Cup on August 12 on Amazon Prime, one of the WNBA’s new media partners.
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For more thoughts and opinions from Crina, check out her Twitter.
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