WNBA vs. NBA
Sam Fortunato ‘21
In the world of sports, there is a substantial difference between professional sports leagues for men and those for women. The NBA and the WNBA have had huge differences between them, especially in terms of salaries and league growth, since the WNBA’s inception in 1996. There are also social biases that further the disparity between the two leagues.
This past year, the average salary for an NBA player was 6.4 million dollars, while a player in the WNBA only had an average salary of fifty grand. Sylvia Fowles, arguably the best WNBA player, is currently making just over a hundred thousand dollars. Meanwhile, Markelle Fultz of the Sixers, who is a sliver of his college self, is making about eight a half million dollars sitting in the trainer’s room.
The social biases that go along with this debate are a big reason why the WNBA suffers less viewership and overall popularity than its counterpart. The general public tends to say that women’s games are not as fun to watch as NBA games. However, most people haven’t even watched a game. This past season, TV ratings for the WNBA have actually been rising. The NBA has advertised constantly in hopes to help out their partners: many of the NBA’s Instagram posts over the summer were highlights from the WNBA games. Advertising on the NBA-owned TV channel has given the WNBA a wave of new viewers.
A lot of the revenue for the NBA comes from their TV contract. Almost every day major networks like TNT or ESPN are televising a big game. The league’s very own NBA TV shows games around the league, highlights, and analysis, all available through cable. On the other hand, the WNBA lacks a substantial TV contract. A lot of their games are played through local TV and some through the NBA network. Even though the ratings are low, a small increase in viewers could lead to a TV contract, and ultimately, more money for the league and players.
All in all, the WNBA and the NBA are very different based off of revenue and player salaries, but both leagues’ ratings will continue to rise. The NBA just hit a period where one team was completely dominant and ran the league over, which was boring for many viewers. Yet, their ratings kept rising. The WNBA, with the help of the NBA, will start to increase in revenue; however, it will be extremely difficult to surpass the sports juggernaut that is the NBA, a league fifty years the WNBA’s senior. Many argue that the best NBA players will always be better than the best WNBA players because of the immense amount of effort and money schools put into their respective programs. One could argue because of that, the NBA will always be more entertaining. at the end of the day, the WNBA will continue to grow, and the extremely athletic, under-recognized women that make up the league may see a deserved raise in their salaries.
Jamie Werther ‘19
There was once a time when our nation’s sporting world was defined by two sports: boxing and baseball. These two pastimes dominated popular culture in the early twentieth century. Heroes of the baseball world like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb captivated audiences all across the country and helped the game gain a level of unprecedented popularity that is nearly upheld to this day. In the ring, early boxing legends like Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson, and Joe Louis gave their sport an identity in the US, causing boxing’s popularity to take off. For decades, it seemed as if boxing was untouchable, as the sport saw steady growth throughout the 20th century. The 1980s, perhaps a second golden age for boxing, brought about a peak for the sport that would sadly never be reached again.
As the twentieth century began to come to a close, the boxing scene in Las Vegas was a sight to behold. Fight nights lit up the strip, as figures like Mike Tyson (aka “The Baddest Man on the Planet”) turned into legendary household names. Even Hollywood could not get enough of the sport, with the first installment of the all-time classic Rocky franchise being released in 1976. Today, boxing’s popularity hardly holds a candle to those glory days.
On December 1st, an absolutely riveting Heavyweight Championship Bout was fought between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. To the majority of Americans, especially the youth, neither of those names even ring a bell. These are two of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters that the sport has to offer today, yet it would be a stretch to consider them B-list celebrities. The lingering question remains: how did this happen? Many blame the introduction of pay-per-view, which has cut thousands off from boxing, as those who are unwilling to put up one hundred dollars to watch a single event are completely excluded from viewing matches. Others blame the rise of UFC, a brutal form of mixed martial arts which has surpassed boxing in popularity perhaps because of the increased amounts of violence and personality from the fighters. Regardless of what caused the downfall, boxing--once a backbone of American entertainment--is somehow fighting for its life in the middle of a media boom. Can it be saved?
Previewing The Sixers Raptors Series
David Ghalili ‘19
For the Philadelphia 76ers, the “real playoffs” begin now. After trouncing the Brooklyn Nets and their crew of 8 loyal fans in 5 games amidst various ejections, fights, and trash talk, the Sixers will face the Toronto Raptors this Saturday, April 27th, in what should be a major Litmus test for the franchise. Unlike the Nets, the Raptors are undoubtedly among the NBA’s elites-- led by proven star Kawhi Leonard and a very capable group of Co-stars in Pascal Siakam (my favorite player), Kyle Lowry, and Marc Gasol.
This series will almost surely be a battle and will go to 6 or 7 games, as each team has clear advantages. The Sixers have the slight edge in star power, the team attribute that is most important in a playoff series. When healthy, Joel Embiid can be the most dominant player in the NBA on both ends of the court. When you add in the late game bucket-generating ability and hard-nosed defensive prowess of Jimmy Butler, versatile scoring of Tobias Harris, do-it-all nature of Ben Simmons, and lethal shooting from J.J. Redick Mike Scott, the Sixers have the guys that should be able to keep them in any game.
However, the Raptors are heavy favorites in this series for a reason. For one, the Raptors have been a top-5 defensive team in the league all season by virtue of having 0 defensive liabilities in their rotation. Toronto and an engaged 2x Defensive Player of The Year Kawhi Leonard have taken their defense to another level as of late, boasting the NBA’s best defense this playoffs. Their trade-deadline acquisition, the Spaniard Marc Gasol, has a proven history of defending Embiid in the post about as well as humanly possible. Embiid’s post-play is a staple in the Sixers’ offense and if his impact is mitigated, it would leave the Sixers clueless in a half-court setting. In addition, the Sixers’ biggest weakness, their bench depth, is the Raptors’ biggest strength. Their deep bench unit contains three starting caliber players in Fred Vanvleet, Norman Powell, and Serge Ibaka. The Sixers starters will have to each average around 40 minutes per game in order to lessen the exposure of T.J. McConnell and James Ennis, who regularly gets torched on the perimeter.
Series X-Factor: Joel Embiid’s health and production against Gasol. If Embiid plays every game at a solid minute total of around 35 minutes and can improve his average play against Gasol, the Sixers should win the series.
Prediction: Sixers in 6 #SI6 . Embiid averages 28 13 and 4.
Baseball Rules: An Unsolvable Problem?
Wes Champlin ‘19
A common complaint about baseball is the length of the game. The average length of a baseball game during the 2017 season was three hours and 8 minutes (an all time high), up 19 minutes from 2005 (2:49). Because of this increase in the length of games, the MLB has taken action to combat this problem. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, there has been a clock between innings. For the 2018 season they limited the amount of mound visits by a manager per game to six, the first time that that has been regulated. Even amidst these efforts, the problem persists: the average length of a game last season dropped only three minutes from 2017, to 3:05. It would be much easier for the MLB to find other ways to accommodate the viewer, such as changing the ridiculous start times for games. The main problem with watching a game is not how long it is, but rather the fact that one must stay up until ten pm just to know who wins. The solution to this is extremely easy: move the start times of seven pm games back to six. This change would solve the problem of staying up too late or spending too much time watching the game. If games started at six, they would end at nine pm on average, leaving plenty of time for students to do homework or for working men/women to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Another benefit to this change is that it doesn't affect the content of the game itself, so fans can enjoy the entire game without losing an unreasonable amount of sleep.
Why March Madness is the most entertaining event in sports
Stefan Lyntton ‘21
Why is the Division I College Basketball Tournament the most entertaining event in sports?
There’s no other event in the world of sports like March Madness. March Madness is a three week long, 67 game college basketball tournament full of nail biting, buzzer beaters, and displays of freak athleticism all put together in hopes of naming the best team in college basketball. This event, that begins in late March and ends in early April, is something that many sports fans look forward to each year. March Madness brings around 100 million viewers throughout the duration of the tournament. One of the distinct and unique things that March Madness offers, unlike any other college sport or professional sport postseason, is the March Madness Bracket. Brackets are filled out based on educated guesses in hopes of becoming the first to predict a perfect bracket. Many families, friends, and communities come together during this time of year to participate in, most commonly, the Capital One Bracket Challenge and the ESPN Tournament Challenge.
The excitement and fun of March Madness comes not only from the bracket, but also each matchup. Fans cling to their computers and smartphones and stand inches from their televisions, as most games in the tournament come down to the wire, as the winner is decided in the last few seconds of the game. The beauty of March Madness is that anything can happen, spectators are surrounded with the unknown; a 16 seed can beat a 1 seed, the championship can be decided on a buzzer beater, and a team defeated in the first round can come back the next year to win it all. The University of Virginia’s Men’s Basketball team (the tournament 1 seed) was defeated by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s team (the region 16 seed) in the first round of the 2018 March Madness Tournament. The Virginia Cavaliers, led by Kyle Guy, came back to be a region 1 seed and went on to beat Texas Tech in the championship to win the entire tournament. The UVA Cavaliers’ journey over the past couple of years demonstrates the luck, skill, and craziness of March Madness. With a realistic odds of 1 in 47 billion chance of a perfect bracket, it is nearly impossible to know which team will win each game. This tournament brings pure madness, and each year it is further proven that anything can happen. For this reason, fans each year watch from the edge of their seats desperate to see which team will emerge victorious.