New Activation Partnerships, New Crossover Stars…In An Olympic Year…WNBA Tips Off Strong…

Many times over the past dozen years marketers have looked at the WNBA as somewhat of an enigma. Clearly the breakthrough leader in women's sports, the league has enjoyed strong support with a product that has become better every year. Still the mainstream interest has been up and down depending on the year, and with local ownership th.league now has to hope that each team has staff savvy enough to activate and build stars by market.?This summer however it looks like the WNBA future is bright as ever, due to smart, new cutting edge partnerships, the momentum of an Olympic year and some solid crossover stars that can continue to appeal to make the great game of BASKETBALL, not just women's basketball.a popular go-to sport year round for interest and activation. Some of the reasons for the bright future are outlined in Mel Greenberg's overall piece in the Philly InquirerKurt Streeter's great profile of rookie star Candace Parker in today's LA Times, Dave Weekley's story in the Charleston Gazette Mail that tells local fans all the ways they can follow the Detroit Shock's rookie star Alexis Hornbuckle, the New York Liberty with a local star in Rutgers’ Essence Carson.and mutiple stories on the WNBA McDonald's partnership which not only includes activation online and in market but gives the worldwide brand logo placement on the front of many WNBA jerseys. Tie that in with the fan program Discover Card does with the league, some very strong online spots (head of officials Dee Kantner has . blog that will give basketball fans a different look at the game., and there are many, many reasons why the league can grow from all aspects this summer. A couple of push points to really put it over the top…local stories…the league must push the local teams to find and tell every possible story across all mediums, including taking advantage of every opportunity in the digital space…that local momentum needs to be there to show everyone strength in a cumulative fashion. The other point is talking about basketball. Many times women's sports get caught up in the uniqueness of being just that…a women's sport. However the level of crossover appeal and athleticism now for the WNBA is even bigger because it is good basketball that appeals to all hoops fans. Riding the great success the NBA is having into June won’t hurt, and talking about great hoops, with a solid leader like Donna Orender, is a very smart move.

Also on the hoops front this weekend, the New Jersey Nets continued to find new offseason ways to make noise and activate their brand, unveiling their new Manhattan showroom this week with a great CNBC piece by Darren Rovell…Sunday's New York Times has a very interesting read linking the world's two most popular sports, hoops and basketball…and as Big Brown heads toward a potential Triple Crown, check out Dan Steinberg's Washington Post blog with a lighter side o.Saturday's Preakness, with some fun stuff from the infield.