By GIANNA SANCHEZ
March Madness is upon us and basketball fans everywhere are filling out their tournament brackets. It’s hard to be a fan of March Madness when your team didn’t even qualify, but there’s always the other side of basketball that people oftentimes are looking at: women’s basketball.
March Madness is always significantly more talked about than Sweet Sixteen. Women’s sports in general are typically talked about less than men’s sports. This is typically because people believe that men’s sports are more entertaining. Looking at it from the financial perspective, significantly more money goes into men’s sports than women’s. Even comparing sport to sport, the top paid men’s basketball player, Stephen Curry, made $33 million in the 2018-19 season compared to women’s basketball player, Sylvia Fowles, who made a mere $109,000. This is a huge discrepancy in the pay that bleeds into the fan attraction.
This isn’t just at the pro level, however. Men’s college basketball gets out way more fans and viewers than women’s basketball does. A lot of people say that they do not watch women’s basketball because they don’t respect the organization. A key example of this happened this past Monday. ESPN was holding a selection show for what seeds, brackets and locations were chosen for this year’s Sweet Sixteen. The show was set to be held at 7 p.m. Around 3 p.m. that day, someone leaked the entire bracket, locations and seeds for the tournament. ESPN quickly tweeted saying that selection would be pushed up an hour, however, did not address the leak.
Teams everywhere started preparing for their numbers and were not too surprised when the official announcement came at 6 p.m. Many people who watch women’s basketball cited this as a reason why people do not respect the organization. It is hard to watch when little mistakes like this happen, especially coming from a national organization. Steps are being taken each year to improve the attendance and viewers for women’s sports, but until the same effort is put into women’s athletics as it is men’s, even from a broadcasting perspective, there will not be any equality coming any time soon.