Female athletes deserve your attention

Athletes should be supported across gender lines. Female college athletes deserve to have fans cheering them on just as much as the men do. Men’s sports have no trouble bringing in fans, with Division I, II, and III men’s basketball games bringing in approximately five times the amount of attendees than at women’s basketball games during the 2014-2015 year according to the NCAA.

But, when it comes to women’s sports, even women aren’t interested.

“I’m bored out of my skull at women’s basketball games”, said ESPN The Magazine writer Stacey Pressman in The New York Times.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon thought. Many think that women’s sports are boring compared to men’s because they aren’t as strong, fast or competitive. But even in sports where women’s physical advantages are beneficial like soccer or gymnastics, interest for these events tend to only come when the Women’s World Cup or the Olympics are on.

Even when attention is paid to women’s athletics, it’s not always good attention. Women’s sports have long been plagued by sexist comments about their bodies, their sports attire (I’m looking at you, tennis commentators), and their sexual attractiveness. What we should be paying attention to is an athlete’s tenacity, endurance, and skill. But in order to fill the stands, colleges have to get creative.

Many colleges are resorting to promotions to encourage people to attend women’s games. Serena Elavia from The Atlantic reported that Georgetown University had a kale themed event, where gift cards and free kale were given away, to get students to attend the women’s basketball game. Kansas State did the same thing, offering free bacon to students that showed. While it worked, it’s discouraging that the PR for women’s college athletics work so hard to attract fans while men’s PR does little and fans come in droves.

Another disheartening aspect of fan interest is that sometimes a mediocre or bad men’s sports team has a higher rate of attendance than the superior women’s counterpart. Although Stanford Women’s Soccer is an example of the women’s team attaining better attendance than the men’s team, it’s possible this is due to the point rewards system that many colleges offer. With this system, students that attend unpopular games earn points that give them a better chance at getting tickets to a more coveted event like a football game.

While the college point system allows for female athletes to finally get the attention they deserve, people should attend their games as a validation of all their hard work and effort. By attending, we are showing them that they are just as important as the men’s teams and that they deserve our respect.