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Six Sports Thoughts: From women’s B-ball to golf pay gap

April 13, 2010 – 10:01 AM

By Laura Pappano

  1. Who says people don’t watch dominance? UConn’s NCAA Tournament run brought ESPN more viewers than in 2009. According to Nielsen, the final UConn-Stanford game drew 3.53 million viewers, up 32 percent from the 2009 final of UConn vs. Louisville. The Final Four averaged 3.16 viewers, up 22 percent from last year.
  2. The WNBA has scheduled its second outdoor game, between the LA Sparks and the Seattle Storm for June 5 – and they should plan even more. It’s a problem that the WNBA plays in the “off” season when sports media attention is not on basketball. (In HS, this would be a Title IX problem). Bringing the game outdoors gives the WNBA a playground hoops culture vibe and a twist the NBA lacks.
  3. When Doug Hastings, a writer for small Boston-area weeklies reported plans for a WNBA team, the “Tessies,” to land in sport-crazed Boston, it was – as he wrote at the end of his column – just an April Fool’s joke. “No, there will be no WNBA coming to the area, but enjoy April Fool’s Day.” Maybe Hasting’s editor can assign him a better story: Ask the Celtics why they don’t want a WNBA franchise in town?
  4. Mid-way through the Masters those rooting for Tiger Woods might have asked themselves what was compelling: Was this a story about redemption? Or Excellence? By Sunday evening it turned out to be about neither. In fact, it was more about fussing and whining (and even arrogance).
  5. It’s not just female athletes who sponsors love to sell as role models: Barclay’s wasted no time in taking out a full page ad in The New York Times today (page A5) to congratulate “Phil Mickelson and his family” on his Master’s win. The ad features a giant photo of Phil planting a kiss on wife Amy’s head. Copy reads: “Phil demonstrates why he is a great ambassador and role model for the game of golf. He personifies the game’s values of integrity, focus, and precision…” Message to Tiger: Character is huge.
  6. There is a serious and unfortunate pay gap in purses for men’s and women’s pro golf. How big? The current top male pay leader for 2010, Ernie Ells, has earned $1,406 per stroke while the top female, Yani Tseng, has been paid $409 for every time she has hit the ball.

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