Ask:  Reinvent the WNBA by defining a unique market position, exploring fan segments and the best ways to reach and engage them.

Ask:  Reinvent the WNBA by defining a unique market position, exploring fan segments and the best ways to reach and engage them.

This six month project is something that I am extremely proud of.  Over the course of the project I was able to use all of the different aspects of my education at the Brandcenter and beyond.  I was so excited to get the chance to work with the WNBA on this problem.  Basketball has always been an extremely important part of my life and having the chance to work on a project that helps spread its influence was extremely rewarding to me.   

Method:  When given this project the first thing I did was dive into research.  I spent months compiling as much information as I could.  I also conducted focus groups, surveys and interviews to get my own qualitative research.  One of the most rewarding experiences was the focus group as this is where I found my first critical insight.  This insight lead to many others that overall helped to shape my presentation and solution.  


1.     The average American family is getting priced out of Professional sports

          With the average ticket price of a professional sporting event approaching $100, many middle and working class families are unable to enjoy live sports.  We are starting to see live sports as an environment for the rich.  This is a huge issue as sports are an essential part of many families.      

2.     Many people feel the environment of professional sports is a toxic one. 

      When speaking to sports fans some say they feel that the games are not as fun as they once were.  Fans of the NBA in particular talk about how many people at the games spend their time screaming at players or looking down at their phones.  Many fans are seeking out a more low pressure sporting events.          

3.     The rise of the Women's Movement is a extremely powerful force in culture. 

          The Women's march had 4.6 million people join in its demonstration.  It is regarded as the largest gathering in United States history.  This movement is a powerful one and one that the WNBA has the authority to be a part of.  Unlike many other companies, the WNBA has the ability to be a part of the conversation around the Women's Movement because it is the premier women's professional athletics association in this country.

4.     We don't watch women's sports as adults because we were not exposed to it as children.

         The main reason that people do not follow women's sports is that they lack exposure to them when they were children.  At a young age we normalize the idea that professional sports are an arena that should be dominated by men.  By exposing children to professional women's sports at a young age, we can help to internalize the acceptance of these sports and more importantly create the next generation of WNBA fans.

The Fans:  With all of this in mind I began to look at who I should be focusing on.  What I was lead to through my focus groups, interviews and other research was the creation of a fan lifecycle.  This lifecycle would consist of the four groups I was looking to target.  The first group in this cycle is Future Fans.  This is the group of young girls age 6-11.  After that we have Aspirational Athletes.  This group consists of women age 12-18 who are active in athletics.  Next we have Mindful Snake People. Mindful Snake People is the group made up of both genders ages 19-30.  Finally we have Fund-Conscious Families.  This group is made up of parents ages 30-50 of both genders.  These four groups were chosen for many reasons but the overall selection stemmed from the creation of this lifecycle.  The WNBA wants to create Future Fans, that then become Aspirational Athletes.  These Aspirational Athletes then become Mindful Snake People.  The Mindful Snake People then transition into Fund-Conscious Families that raise Future Fans.  In this way we can create a continual funnel of fans into the WNBA.  This is important as the average WNBA fan has a higher age than any other professional sport.

Positioning: The Positioning of this project was extremely important.  Currently the WNBA is positioned as this: "The NBA with a W in front of it."  The WNBA does everything the NBA does, but this is a problem for many reasons.  The reason this is a problem is the WNBA is not the NBA, it is different.  Different does not mean better or worse.  It just means the game and the players are different.  That means their positioning needs to be different. 

The new positioning was inspired by the quote seen above.  The new positioning of the WNBA is The WNBA is the professional league that makes the fun of basketball accessible to everyone.  The WNBA has a chance to bring the fun back to basketball while also allowing everyone access to a professional league. 

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Programs: The first program that will help install this new positioning for the WNBA is a program I created called WNBA LEAP. LEAP stands for Location Experience Activation Plan.  What this program would do is generate access to WNBA outside the franchise markets.  This would be accomplished by a traveling set of games.  These games will be played at cities near the home city to grow the fan base.  

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Engagements:  There will also be a series of fan engagements that take place over the unveiling of WNBA LEAP.  They are as follows:

1.     WNBA Skills Tournament:  Skills tournament that is focused on young girls and their development at basketball players. 

2.     Group Family Pricing:  Reaching out to families through group pricing.

3.     Group Team Pricing:  Reaching out to teams through their coaches and athletic directors.

4.     Hero Stories:  Leverage the amazing women the WNBA has on their teams not just as athletes but as powerful women.


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Sumary and Manfesto: