The N.C.A.A. Undervalued Women's Basketball. Marketers Didn't

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (N.C.A.A.) has undervalued womens basketball by millions of dollars and neglected its development. The organization has repeatedly failed to address gender inequities in its sports programming and marketing. The NCAA commissioned Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to conduct an investigation into its practices and structures.

The NCAA Undervalued Womens Basketball Marketers Didnt

The N.C.A.A. actively devalues women’s basketball by paying ESPN $34 million a year for the rights to their events. The NCAA has the right to sell television and marketing rights to their championships and the rights to broadcast them cost the network $1.5 billion annually. The women’s tournament is undervalued despite CBS/Turner’s hefty revenue and television advertising fees.

The NCAA undervalued womens basketball. Marketers didn’t. But they didn’t notice and spent billions of dollars to promote the sport. As a result, women’s basketball continues to be undervalued by the public. During the national championship tournament, the NCAA spent $160 million on marketing, but it’s still undervalued by consumers.

The NCAA Undervalued Womens Basketball. Marketers didn’t. Then, it decided to focus on Division I males’s events and ignored the women’s event. That decision cost the N.C.A.A. hundreds of thousands of dollars in television revenue. And it alienated fans. Despite the poor media coverage, this decision was smart for the organization.

In the past, the NCAA has undervalued women’s basketball. But it’s hardly ever undervalued by women. Its lack of support is a direct result of the men’s games dominance. The women’s tournament is much more popular than the men’s one, but it’s still undervalued by the marketers. The NCAA undervalued the sport and the women’s tournament is just as important.

The N.C.A.A. has been systematically undervaluing women’s basketball. Its new rules for endorsements and broadcast rights largely favor men’s games. This trend is a major problem for the women’s sports industry. Ultimately, the N.C.A. should be willing to acknowledge gender inequities in its programming.

In the past, the N.C.A.A. undervalued womens basketball. They didn’t invest in the women’s tournament. But they did pay attention to the men’s tournament and the NCAA’s 2021 championship game. And it’s a major cash cow for women’s basketball. Its money isn’t just in the NCAA.

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In its recent report, the N.C.A. undervalued womens basketball. Despite the rising popularity of women’s college basketball, the NCAA undervalues women’s basketball. In fact, the competition for broadcast rights is far greater than for men’s. In 2025, the NCAA will command $112 million in broadcast rights for women’s games.