Opinion | Women’s Basketball Is on the Rise. Is Anyone Paying Attention?

Produced by ‘Sway’

LeBron James and Steph Curry are family names and model magnates, however Diana Taurasi and A’ja Wilson haven’t fairly reached that stage. That’s regardless of being, respectively, the W.N.B.A.’s profession high scorer and reigning MVP. And it’s regardless of the common viewership for the 2020 girls’s basketball finals taking pictures up 15 p.c from the earlier yr — whereas the males’s finals noticed a 49 p.c drop. In a sport that’s beloved and at a time when feminine athletes are elevating their profiles (assume Naomi Osaka and Megan Rapinoe), why isn’t the W.N.B.A. minting superstars?

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That’s a query Cathy Engelbert, the league’s commissioner, is grappling with. Since becoming a member of the W.N.B.A. in 2019, she has settled a collective bargaining settlement to extend participant compensation and has overseen the W.N.B.A.’s current push into sports activities betting. In this dialog, Kara Swisher and Engelbert focus on why girls’s sports activities are underwatched and undervalued, what which means for pay fairness and whether or not the girls’s league will ever be financially impartial from their mother or father group and male counterpart: the N.B.A.

(A full transcript of the episode can be obtainable noon on the Times web site.)

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; photograph by Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

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“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong and Daphne Chen, and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez; viewers technique by Shannon Busta. Special due to Kristin Lin and Liriel Higa.