Why Don’t More Women Watch The WNBA?

WNBA is a great basketball event where fierce and talented women can show their extraordinary ball skills on the court. The game is full of energy and anticipation but does not get much audience, Specially women audience.

Despite being a game of women, the WNBA often falls short in female audiences.

Here, we will talk about a few reasons that might have caused less number of women watching the WNBA.

For those, who want to peek and go, here is a summarized answer on why more women don’t watch the WNBA.

WNBA does not get much audience, especially women, due to multiple reasons that include the league being newer compared to the NBA and having fewer media coverage, a conditioned mentality about basketball, lack of cultural acceptance, and women’s interest in activities that reflect feminine characters.

Additionally, talented female basketball players find better pay in international events like the EWBL. However, women’s interest has been gradually increasing over the last few years.

That being said, there has been a gradual increase in the WNBA’s audience. The first WNBA game in Toronto, Canada in May 2023 drew over 19,000 attendees, a significant portion of which were female.

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Now, let’s get into details on why WNBA lacks female audiences.

New Compared to NBA

While the NBA has been there since 1946, its counterpart WNBA has been there since 1996. Because of this, there are more fans hooked up to NBA than WNBA, especially women, as it was NBA that they watched with their family and friends.

Growing up, fans, including women, watched the NBA with their fathers and brothers. However, it was not the case with the WNBA.

Insufficient Media Coverage

Along with the fact that the WNBA is not as old as NBA, it is also a fact that there is not sufficient media coverage for the WNBA.

A typical sports channel like ESPN allocates only 2% of the screen time for women’s sports, which becomes lesser when it comes to WNBA.

Due to this, not many fans, including women, can see and know about the events and games of the WNBA, making it harder to watch WNBA.

Conditioned Mentality

Another reason for not having many women watching WNBA is the conditioned mentality about the sports like basketball that we learned growing up.

People often have grown up with a conditioned mentality of seeing tall, masculine, and strong men playing basketball.

So, female players playing basketball is still a new thing that will take some time.

Lack of Cultural Acceptance

Many researchers also believe that lack of cultural acceptance is also one of the few reasons which have lowered the number of women audience in the WNBA.

Often females are bounded by the stereotypical values that they should be engaged and witnessed in more feminine activities, and WNBA is the opposite of these stereotypes.


Women are often raised with many restrictions and boundaries and taught to think in a certain way.

These women are more focused and interested in activities that reflect feminine characters due to their upbringing. It causes only a few women to become part of the WNBA as a player and an audience.

Some break the stereotypes and come to support their cherished WNBA players, while others do not have even a bit of interest in the game.

Talents Lost to International Games

The last reason that might have caused less number of women audience in the WNBA might be the transfer of talented female players to international events such as EWBL.

Female basketball players get paid more during international games compared to WNBA games.

Because of this, the number of women supporting female basketball players is high at the collegiate level, but after college, their favorite players start an international career, and the WNBA does not get many of these star collegiate female players or the women audiences supporting them.

Though the number of women watching the WNBA is low compared to the number of their counterparts and even lower compared to the ones watching NBA, we can see some good changes happening over the last few years.

The number might be small, but it is increasing gradually, which is a good sign for the skillful WNBA players who pour their hearts and soul into the court.

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