Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WNBA Dream Faces Challenges in 2010

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Still, Betty has some tough financial obstacles to overcome, which is why she’s looking for other investors to join her. She would not disclose the troubling financial numbers, but I’m told the Dream lost about $3 million last season.

Attendance dropped to 7,500 per game last season, from 8,500 during the Dream’s inaugural season. That means the team enjoyed a very short honeymoon period, even though there was a dramatic improvement on the court — not a good sign.

Just to break even, the team will need to average about 8,500 paying fans per game. That will not be easy. Veteran sports reporters and editors I talked with doubted that it could be done, given all the competition from the major sports.

I'm assuming that that $3 million is a net loss, because I figure it has to cost between $3 million and $5 million just to run the dream. Those numbers aren't good, because my understanding of net losses for the WNBA are somewhere between $1.5 million-$2.5 million a year.

Someone (I don't remember who) posited that attendance never reflects the current season, but the previous season. In which case, the big drop in attendance might have been due to the 4-30 record in 2008. However, there is also the sophomore slump associated with the team no longer being a novelty.

All I know is, I'm going to be shortening that gap this year every way that I know how.

P. S.: Aaron's, hmm? Uniform sponsorship?

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