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Is a WNHL possible?

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Old
02-19-2014, 02:22 PM
  #1
PSGJ
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Is a WNHL possible?

What do you think? Could a women's NHL make money? I'm talking here about the possibility of making money a few years down the line.

If so. How should it be done? Which cities?

Personally I would rather see the best women in the world than minor league hockey.

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02-19-2014, 02:30 PM
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Hell no. Not a chance.

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02-19-2014, 02:32 PM
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YoungSinatra
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Yeah probably not

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Old
02-19-2014, 02:36 PM
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There already is a women's hockey league. There was a National Womens' hockey league which was around from 1999 to 2007.

In 2007 the Canadian Women's Hockey League was founded and is still running today. I believe travel, uniform costs etc are paid for by the league but ht eplayers don't make any money.

http://www.cwhl.ca/

In terms of quality of hockey. A minor league hockey team could easily beat the best women's team. The Canadian and US national teams regularly play highschool boys teams and lose.

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02-19-2014, 02:57 PM
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It's one of those things that sounds like it could work, but probably wouldn't. Not much of track record of successful women's sports.

If it was going to be successful it would need to be owned and run by the nhl so you can do a bunch of cross promotion like the nba does with the wnba.

Start small with teams primarily in Canada plus a couple in the States.

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02-19-2014, 03:02 PM
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tarheelhockey
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Could it make money? No, absolutely not. Hockey is an expensive sport to produce and requires a very steady flow of income from tickets and advertisement. Look at how many men's minor leagues struggle to survive in sizeable markets.

That said, I think there's a place in the world for a women's league... maybe not a fully professional league, but perhaps an exhibition league that joins up with events like the All Star Game and Winter Classic, and maybe a limited schedule in large hockey markets. The point being not to make money in the long term, but to break even and give the women's game exposure and cultivation in between Olympic years.

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02-19-2014, 03:03 PM
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NickWIHockey
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Is it possible?

Sure. would it be at all remotely successful? No. The WNBA has , to my knowledge, never made a profit since opening in 1997. the WNHL wouldn't turn a profit either.

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02-19-2014, 03:04 PM
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OP asks two separate questions.

Is it possible? Sure. In fact it does exist right now.

Could it be profitable? All signs point to No. CWHL pays no salaries, appears to be dependant on various corporate sponsorships to stay alive. WNBA only survives due to ongoing financial support from the NBA.

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02-19-2014, 03:09 PM
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And women's basketball has a stronger foundation than women's hockey. College WBB is actually fairly popular at a number of schools so there is something of an audience for it. Both the WNBA and the women's soccer league have failed to really work and those sports are probably the best opportunities for professional women's sports leagues.

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02-19-2014, 03:14 PM
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Interesting to see what women's sports are the most successful.

Tennis is easily the most successful professional sport for women. Big money. Big ratings. Global interest. In the US, women's tennis often gets higher ratings than men's tennis. That's mostly because there are no top American male tennis players and there hasn't been for years now.

LPGA had a couple decent decades but has really struggled in the last decade. There are multiple reasons. The influx of top tier Korean women with limited English skills has been difficult for the LPGA since it's still mostly an American tour.

But women's professional golf does decent globally.

Obviously the international events, the Olympics and World Cup, generate a lot of interest and money, but those are sort of special events.

Figure skating is a nice revenue stream. The Olympic stars get to spend years, if they want, on touring ice show after their Olympic careers are over. Not really a sport at that stage, but a big source of revenue directly related to their competitive career.

Is there any women's team sport pro league that is successful on it's own? The NBA operates the WNBA as a charity/PR campaign. If the WNBA had to stand alone it would fold within weeks.

Women in the UFC are doing well. But we'll have to see how long that lasts beyond Ronda Rousey's meteoric rise. Last few years have been amazing for women's MMA. Rousey is headlining her own PPV this weekend.

A lot of women's sports should examine women's tennis and try to learn why it has been so successful. Partly it is, I think, because the women still get to dress and look feminine and pretty and stylish while competing. I've often thought the WNBA could try to develop some uniforms that flatter the female form rather than just wear men's uniforms. And not in some crude sex sells manner, just in acknowledging that most women prefer to look pretty and to watch TV shows with pretty women on them. It's not just men that like looking at pretty women, women do, too.

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02-19-2014, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotchex View Post
Interesting to see what women's sports are the most successful.

Tennis is easily the most successful professional sport for women. Big money. Big ratings. Global interest. In the US, women's tennis often gets higher ratings than men's tennis. That's mostly because there are no top American male tennis players and there hasn't been for years now.

LPGA had a couple decent decades but has really struggled in the last decade. There are multiple reasons. The influx of top tier Korean women with limited English skills has been difficult for the LPGA since it's still mostly an American tour.

But women's professional golf does decent globally.

Obviously the international events, the Olympics and World Cup, generate a lot of interest and money, but those are sort of special events.

Figure skating is a nice revenue stream. The Olympic stars get to spend years, if they want, on touring ice show after their Olympic careers are over. Not really a sport at that stage, but a big source of revenue directly related to their competitive career.

Is there any women's team sport pro league that is successful on it's own? The NBA operates the WNBA as a charity/PR campaign. If the WNBA had to stand alone it would fold within weeks.

Women in the UFC are doing well. But we'll have to see how long that lasts beyond Ronda Rousey's meteoric rise. Last few years have been amazing for women's MMA. Rousey is headlining her own PPV this weekend.

A lot of women's sports should examine women's tennis and try to learn why it has been so successful. Partly it is, I think, because the women still get to dress and look feminine and pretty and stylish while competing. I've often thought the WNBA could try to develop some uniforms that flatter the female form rather than just wear men's uniforms. And not in some crude sex sells manner, just in acknowledging that most women prefer to look pretty and to watch TV shows with pretty women on them. It's not just men that like looking at pretty women, women do, too.
I'm not sure if they're successful, but I've heard of pretty good women's basketball teams in Europe.

Without sound demeaning, I think some sports played by women are more watchable. I personally watch as much women's as men's tennis. Same with curling and soccer. I think women's softball and baseball is watchable too.

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02-19-2014, 03:44 PM
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Women's soccer and basketball are really the only team sports with the interest level to sustain any sort of league and soccer has struggled to create one as it is. A WNHL would have to either be 100% funded by the NHL as a charitable cause, essentially, or be so small time that you wouldn't even know it existed.

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02-19-2014, 03:51 PM
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If there is a sport that could actually make it for the woman (other than wnba) would be (i hope) the NWSL, Nation Women's Soccer League. I enjoyed watching my team the Thorns play and have a good feeling that the league might out last the other leagues that suffered from too overspending and one league being too arrogant.

Women's basketball is not my cup of tea but i do like rugby, base/softball, skeleton, volley ball indoor and outdoor and lacrosse.

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02-19-2014, 04:00 PM
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The audience respects women golfers and tennis players, because the sport is more about accurate shooting than brute strength. Most people men & women have played some tennis, so when you see a pro rip a crosscourt baseline shot, or beautifully chip it out of the rough right to the flag, everyone whose tried that respects that ability regardless of sex, because the pro is doing what the amateur cannot.

Meanwhile with women's hockey/basketball, the overall lack of skill/speed/strength (which are big attractions in the game) is readily apparent. As someone pointed out, you may as well just go watch high school hockey, because it's the same level. The beer league/shinny hockey player or street/rec baller does not respect this level of play, probably because his league's skill isn't much different, quite possibly even better.

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02-19-2014, 04:50 PM
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It's virtually impossible for the league to be profitable from the start. What you hope is that the existence of the league would draw better athletes to women's hockey. And then you would grow your audience as the caliber of play gets better.

Even then, would there be support from the average hockey fan? This is generally where women's sports fall into trouble. Men make up the majority of the sports viewing audience, and why would they invest time in women's sports when they can just watch men? To me its a tough sell.

The hook would be could the NHL use a women's league as a slight loss leader to increase interest in the NHL among women. It's a long shot, but I can see how someone would consider it. personally I wouldn't bother due to the lack of success of any pro female sports leagues, but I also wouldn't have NHL teams in Florida, Phoenix, and Nashville. so anything is possible.

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02-19-2014, 05:29 PM
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LPGA does tiny business compared to PGA. In 2008 total prize money on the tour was $60M. It was only $40M in 2011. I understand they are adding some tournaments again in 2014 and things have improved.

Women's tennis has a huge advantage compared to most women's sports -- they play at the same time and the same place as the men do.

When Wimbledon happens the men's and women's tournaments are run alongside each other. Women's golf doesn't have that luxury. So any fans that show up are showing up just to see the women.

The big tennis events feature both men and women in a way that other sports don't. And most probably can't. The logistics of a golf tournament mean you can't run a men's and women's tournament at the same time on the same course.

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02-19-2014, 05:47 PM
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I suppose it would generate girls participation in the sport as a whole, but not sure if it would attract female fans, or enough fans to support it in general.

WNBA hasn't garnered sustained interest in all its years and has the advantage of players with some name recognition coming out of the NCAA. Going to the other extreme, Danica Patrick, for all the hype of crossing gender barriers, isn't promoted to draw in women, she is a bikini clad Go Daddy spokesperson.

Not trying to sound sexist with this, as womens tennis and golf do get decent ratings, but how many are just watching *cute girl in a skirt*. For as talented and dominating the Williams sisters are, it was Kournikova and Sharipova getting the attention, more people likely know Michelle Wie than the LPGA champion. Same with women in MMA, the crossover star was Gina Carano in a beauty vs beast feud with Cyborg, Rousey won an Olympic medal and Strikeforce title but it was the ESPN Body issue that prompted the UFC to market her as a top tier talent.

Just think the libido of the 16-35 male sports watching demographic or the reinforced gender roles of society will limit the viability of womens professional sports in general. Not every sport can feed the stereotype without becoming a parody, like lingerie football or bikini hockey.

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02-19-2014, 06:52 PM
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No way, I don't think the best hockey areas in the world would be able to support it. Many people would prefer to watch high school boys games over womens hockey.

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02-19-2014, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSGJ View Post
What do you think? Could a women's NHL make money? I'm talking here about the possibility of making money a few years down the line.

If so. How should it be done? Which cities?

Personally I would rather see the best women in the world than minor league hockey.
Short answer: No.

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02-19-2014, 07:03 PM
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Unfortunately the WNBA would outdraw them...And have you ever seen the crowds at one of their games?

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02-19-2014, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UtherGardener View Post
If there is a sport that could actually make it for the woman (other than wnba) would be (i hope) the NWSL, Nation Women's Soccer League. I enjoyed watching my team the Thorns play and have a good feeling that the league might out last the other leagues that suffered from too overspending and one league being too arrogant.

Women's basketball is not my cup of tea but i do like rugby, base/softball, skeleton, volley ball indoor and outdoor and lacrosse.
The Thorns are talking about selling out (now) Providence Park for a game or two this season. A championship doesn't hurt. I'm very curious to see what happens with the new Houston franchise (playing at BBVA Compass where the Dynamo play), how Boston draws by moving to Harvard Stadium (thus closer to the core of Boston), and how Seattle draws by moving to Memorial Stadium (Seattle Center). If these solve problems, then you point to the NYC area franchise (Sky Blue, playing at Rutgers) and the Chicago area franchise (Red Star, playing out in the distant burb of Lisle) and see if location can be improved.

Thinking about the WNBA; all the big 3 markets are represented, and there's ways to market to that fan base without relying on sports media per se. Only two of the next 8 largest markets are represented. After that, some third tier markets, some fourth tier markets, and then the small markets of Tulsa and eastern Connecticut. I mention that because other countries running successful women's basketball leagues tend to go to smaller cities to get more interest, but it's an interesting spread in America.

So for hockey, is there a way to start small? Pick a region with potential interest, available rinks, cheaper travel costs, and work the way up from there... and my hunch is that USA and not Canada is more suitable.

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02-19-2014, 07:11 PM
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It wouldn't be profitable but I don't see why it couldn't be done in conjunction with the NHL like the WNBA. With 5 teams say.

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02-19-2014, 07:19 PM
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In comparison, I'm pretty sure the AHL has better attendance than the WNBA.

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02-19-2014, 07:48 PM
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Average attendance in the WNBA in the 2013 season is 7,531. Not bad.

Of course that is average. Bound to be one or two teams that don't get that many.

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02-19-2014, 08:04 PM
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I'd pay $50 to watch the Canadian and American national teams in an outdoor game (the NHL could couple it with a later in the day NHL game) if the world championship gold was on the line.

(I'll definitely be watching the Olympic gold medal game.)

Hell, I might even watch some WNHL games if TSN adds it as content (they sorely need).

I have fond memories of the battles between those two in 1998 and 2002. They were quality games.

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