Thirteen years ago today, the Women’s National Basketball Association began its very first season.
The inaugural game–in which the New York Liberty defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 67-57– was nationally televised on NBC with over 14 thousand people watching from the stands.
The league started out with eight teams but had doubled in size by the early 2000s.
In 2006, it became the first team-oriented women’s professional sports league to survive ten consecutive seasons (which is truly quite sad).
Unfortunately, the WNBA’s popularity has declined quite a bit since then and–like most professional women’s sports leagues–is unable to rake in nearly as much dough as their male counterparts.
Although, it’s pretty cool that according to WNBA.com, the gender breakdown of their TV audience is about 50/50.
Now if only professional female athletes could attract male fans without posing half naked in any men’s magazines.
You hear that Danica Patrick and Anna Kournikova!?! Just keep your shirts on and let’s see what happens. Maybe Maxim will include you in their ‘Hot 100‘ list anyway.