If there were any indication of women being able to do anything a man can do, a good one would probably be the rise in the popularity of women’s basketball in the UK. While it is not as if the sport being played by women used to be unheard of, there are reasons to believe that a talented British professional basketball player would have a much brighter future today as opposed to a decade or two ago.
It was only in June 2004, that the Women’s British Basketball League was launched in the UK. While there were other basketball leagues for women at the time, the league was launched the women’s counterpart to the British Basketball League.
The league has a total of eleven clubs that compete for supremacy. These are the Barking Abbey Crusaders, Caledonia Pride, Cardiff Met Archers, Durham Palatinates, Leicester Riders, Manchester Mystics, Nottingham Wildcats, Team Northumbria, Oaklands Wolves, Sevenoaks Suns, and Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters.
A significant number of these clubs are based in universities and recreational centres, meaning there was already an established organization prior to playing women’s basketball. Most of these clubs were there since the inception of the league in 2014, but there have been a few changes, namely the departure of LSBU Brixton Topcats and Leeds Carnegie, as well as the inclusion of Caledonia Pride and Oaklands Wolves, both joining the league in 2016, and Durham Palatinates, who joined earlier in July of 2017, after boasting being one of the strongest university basketball teams in the UK.
Room to Grow
It might be an understatement to say that women’s basketball, whether in the UK or anywhere else, still trails in popularity when compared with its masculine counterpart. However, the sport is becoming increasingly popular. While it currently commands a secure cult following, sports critics, such as Jeff Walz, an American women’s basketball coach, guarantees that any basketball fan who watches a women’s basketball game will leave satisfied and impressed by the level of athleticism.
Women’s basketball has been described as being closer to the fundamentals of basketball, so it is quite possible that the lack of following corresponds to a lack in flair, as compared with men’s basketball. If one’s view of sport is to witness a spectacle, then maybe women’s basketball could use some more flashy moves. But if one takes the role of an insider who knows the importance of technical skill in basketball, then one would be hard pressed to be left wanting.
There is also an institutional aspect. Women’s basketball does not get anywhere near the same backing as men’s basketball. This means lower salaries for its players and coaches. Young players who display talent in the sport might not be so inclined to make a career out of it, given that even the best-case scenario does not necessarily leave them financially secure. The lack of investment also means that it is less likely for players to be traded or move from club to club.
Publicity is another aspect. Women’s basketball cannot get more fans if the media does not pay attention to it. At the moment, men’s basketball is the subject of media worship, with players achieving levels of celebrity. On the other hand, women’s basketball, in most parts of the world, struggles to get airtime.
In the UK, there are quite a few places where women’s basketball can stand to grow. For one thing, there are quite a few cities that have a team with the British Basketball League without having one for the Women’s British Basketball League. Cities such as Glasgow, Chester, Worcester, and Plymouth could all potentially expand their franchises in the foreseeable future to accommodate the women’s game.
Betting on Women’s Basketball
If the basketball institutions and sports media fail to give women’s basketball proper support, then it is up to the fans to make the game worth watching.
An interesting strategy comes in the form of making bets, which is said to “make things more interesting.” Fans can take a look at UK list of best free bets and heighten the excitement by giving themselves a stake in the sport. Since making a bet can easily be done online, all one has to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the sportsmanship, skill, and spectacle.
If women’s basketball can catch on among bettors, then that’s an entire section of the population that women’s basketball can tap and convert into fans. This should not be too difficult, as serious betters are always on the lookout for new ways to flex their betting muscles. Since the betting pool on men’s basketball tends to be quite aggressive, beginning bettors can even use women’s basketball as a training ground with lower stakes. Although with the continued growth of the sport, it may be possible that stakes will soon rise.