Tuesday December 5, 2023

Pros and Cons

  • The Gender Equity Review found that among women's basketball players, combining Final Fours is a popular idea.
  • For several reasons, the move could boost exposure and revenue for women's basketball.
Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks
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While the NCAA continues to “explore” the idea, the Gender Equity Review has already made it clear that one location would undoubtedly fix imbalances — and that it’s extremely popular.

The “overwhelming majority” of women’s basketball players interviewed in the Gender Equity Review were in favor of it, the report said. So was the external media rights expert who participated in the study. 

Even those “skeptical” of the idea support at least attempting it.

If executed correctly, the report found several major positives that could come out of this change.

  • The move could increase ticket revenue, enhance media coverage, make cross-promotion easier, and encourage more equitable corporate sponsorship.
  • It will be “easier” to make sure accommodations, like food offerings or hotels, are “comparable” for both tournaments since they’ll be side-by-side in one place.
  • It could create a “fan-building event — serving as a premier basketball showcase that would create increased interest and support from corporate sponsors, broadcasters, and other NCAA partners.”

There are concerns, however. 

In addition to the NCAA’s hesitation to implement the plan before 2027, some expressed fears that in combining the Final Fours, “the women’s games will be ‘drowned out,’” the review said. 

But the review suggested it might be worth the risks, including having to alter or change host city plans. “We do not make this recommendation lightly.”

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