MINNEAPOLIS - For the first time the WNBA All-Star Game is in Minnesota this weekend but a lot of folks don’t know that because there isn’t a whole lot of pomp and circumstance leading up to it.
So why is that?
We talked the mastermind behind the Minnesota Lynx, Head Coach Cheryl Reeve.
“We would love to have amazing block parties and musicians, who doesn't want those things, but the unfortunate truth of where we are as the WNBA we don't get support at higher levels that would be necessary for us to pull those things off financially,” Reeve said.
And that is the bottom line.
The truth is the host team of the All-Star game, in this case, the Lynx puts it on.
Meaning they pay for it.
So, if they were hold parties from here to Hastings they would need a little help.
“There's a reason why we don't have a fan fest anymore and it’s because people who have done it in the past found it’s not good use of your funds, the return on investment isn’t there,” Reeve said.
In this WNBA 15th All Star contest corporate sponsors are not falling over themselves to get in.
Granted, some have come.
Rasmussen College stepped up and hosted a practice for fans with game tickets on Friday afternoon and 4,000 fans showed up.
But the rest??
“I think we have a lot of people interested in the WNBA, but how many people do we have committed to the WNBA and it's that fine line we need people to cross and that is, that does come from corporate partnerships because that provides resources,” Reeve pointed out.
But there is a bright side to this, that it will get better. Because it already is getting better.
Just this season viewership of WNBA games televised on ESPN channels are up 53% over last year.
On NBA TV they are up 46%.
“And that's despite a near media blackout of our sport. We are growing despite the limitations placed on us…can you imagine if we actually supported it??,” Reeve said.
The WNBA All Star Game is Saturday at 2:30 at Target Center. It will be televised nationally on ABC.
As of Friday afternoon, there were still some tickets available.