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Why Women's Sports Get So Little Attention

Atlanta Dream guard Angel McCoughtry (35) passes around Washington Mystics forward Ally Malott (11) in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.
Atlanta Dream guard Angel McCoughtry (35) passes around Washington Mystics forward Ally Malott (11) in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

You may not know that the WNBA finals begin this weekend. It's probably fair to say that if it were the NBA you would know.

More people pay attention to men's sports than women's sports, and one reason for that is inertia. Women are pretty new to big-time sports — and perhaps the media haven't caught up with them.

Also, there aren't that many women's team sports. Lots of people tune in to watch Serena Williams play tennis, and this summer, swimmer Katie Ledecky got a lot of attention — but they play individual sports.

Hear Frank Deford's take on other reasons why women's sports don't have the same kind of following as men's.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: September 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM EDT
In an earlier version of the audio for this conversation, it was said that after the Women's World Cup "there was no carryover. There was no women's soccer league to go on and to pick up that attention." In fact, there is a National Women's Soccer League with teams in nine cities. Whether the attention paid to the World Cup will give the league a boost is not yet known.
Update on Oct. 1
We've also broadcast a correction. It's here.
Update on Oct. 2; a second correction
In this conversation, it's said that the commissioner of the WNBA should "go to Las Vegas and try to get them to establish a betting line" on the league's games. That was a mistake. There is betting on WNBA games in Las Vegas, as well as on other women's sports.