Etsy has Regretsy. Pinterest has WTF, Pinterest? Now the Daily Dot is proud to present Kickstopper, a new series highlighting the most bombastic and absurd projects seeking support through the popular crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.
Bill Miller is as guilty as anyone for throwing dirt on the WNBA, the embattled basketball league founded sixteen years ago as a professional counterpart to the popular-as-ever NBA. Asked for a simple take on the differences between the two leagues, Miller's response came quick:
"It's like comparing a Ferrari to a golf cart."
"If you really watch a game, it’s just painful," Miller wrote to the Daily Dot. "If you can go the distance and watch one from beginning to end, I applaud that you. Part of the problem is that the people involved don’t seem to realize how bad the game actually comes across to the average sports fan. However, if you look at the attendance figures, there are thousands of people at every game."
That's the ironic point behind Not Even ESPN Watches the WNBA, a documentary that Miller and his four Missouri buddies hope to fund through Kickstarter. There's a crowd that goes to these games. They're a niche, sure, but they attend regularly and they attend passionately. And despite their existence as the grand minority of basketball fans, they still show up every night to cheer for their teams.
Hopefully those adoring fans will see it fit to help fund Miller's film. After three days of campaigning, he's only been able to raise $5 of his $1,500 goal.
The rest of his campaign could go either way. It's entirely possible that Not Even could get swept up in the allure of WNBA haters and funded in a flash. It's also entirely possible that the throngs of league advocates—and there are many—could attack him as a pompous chauvinist.
"I am very sure we will receive a good amount of criticism, but the truth hurts, right?" Miller wrote. "I don’t want to directly disrespect any players or coaches by any means, but the league as a whole is looked at as a joke—especially since the league has been around for 16 years and has yet to ever post a profit. Last year was their best year and that came at a $12 million loss. At what point is enough, enough?"
While some individual teams do make a profit, and others break even, most of the teams in the WNBA lose money each season. Those losses are subsidized by the NBA, which at one point owned all of the teams in the women's league. And though some teams have taken on corporate sponsorships that allow them to stay afloat—Lifelock sponsors the Phoenix Mercury, Foxwoods Casino sponsors the New York Liberty, Bing sponsors the Seattle Storm—the number of teams in the red outnumbers the teams in the black.
Those numbers don't matter to the fans who pack the lower rows of arenas on game nights, however.
"The thing we want to prove is that the league actually somehow has some sort of loyal fan base that spends money and knows the players names." Miller wrote.
"Tulsa is only three hours away, so we could go check out a game and ask these people the questions that everyone wants to know: Why do they do it? Is there an actual entertainment value of watching jump shots and lay-ups followed by a slow 'fast break'? Who are you supposed to cheer for if your favorite player gets pregnant?"
"We just want to be the guys who answer those questions."
If Miller and his buddies can fund development of this documentary and turn it into a real thing, they'll have to answer those questions and a whole lot more.
Kickstopper: Not Even ESPN Watches the WNBA
- Location: Springfield, Mo.
- Summary: A basketball fan in Missouri wants to cast light on the people who pay money to support the WNBA.
- Goal: $1,500
- Amount raised of press time: $5
- Days left: 24
- Best buy: For $25, backers will receive a physical copy of the documentary as well as any game-worn apparel from the production crew. (Gross.)
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