Why Women's Pro Football Leagues Can't Succeed, Pt. 1

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Why Women's Pro Football Leagues Can't Succeed, Pt. 1

Because this is very hard work and needs to be correctly done (and I don't want it super long), this letter is broken into two partsone states the problems and gives an overall overview of the situation/leagues, the other offers a solution.


To all women's professional football leagues,

With a quick search on the wonderful Internet, one can easily find a women's professional football league. The problem? There are too many leagues competing against each other for players and fans. But, alas, this can be fixed.

First, let's look at the existing leagues, in order of their respective size.

 

Women's Football League

This league, in existence since 2002, is very questionable. It lost two of its premiere franchises, the Clarksville Fox and Jacksonville Dixie Blues who left to rival leagues prior to 2008. I tried to use their site, but it seems as if there is not one anymore. Or maybe my computer just can't pull it up?

Either way, it has no teams listed on their Wikipedia page, their site doesn't work, and they lost two important clubs, so I am going to say fold the league and transfer the good talent to another league (more on that later).


Women's Professional Football League

I remember this league from way back in high school; my media teacher was the starting quarterback of the Dallas Diamonds. But that was then, this is now. This league has also lost many teams, with only two left—the SoCal Scorpions and the New Mexico Burn. Two teams is not viable for a league, so despite this league being the oldest one, it has got to go.

They too have pretty much taken down their site, with only a little paragraph up.

In the end, fold the league, but keep the two teams (again, more on this later).

 

National Women's Football Association

This league, like the one above, is not doing so well. They have lost pretty all of their teams, minus two, and a lot are uncertain. They too have lost teams to rival leagues and their website is not working.

Long story short, fold this league (and the teams) too.

 

Sorry to you guys—the WFL, WPFL, and NWFA—but you are not viable anymore. You are losing all your teams to your rivals. Instead of trying to create more teams, furthering spreading the talent thin (and sponsors), do what you don't really want to: merge.

Now on to the top two leagues. This is where it gets difficult.


Women's Football Alliance

The new league in town is already off to a decent start with 36 teams, even if most are transferring from another league. They are spread out all over the country, from the California Lynx to the New Jersey Titans.

This league is broken into a National and American Conference with five and four divisions, respectively.  They are positioned in big cities (Philadelphia, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New Orleans), the smaller ones (Hartford, Memphis, Kansas City) and also the unknown ones (Binghamton, NY and Goshen, KY).

The season runs from early April to late June, with each team playing around eight games (one per week with some bye weeks thrown in). There is a total of 11 weeks in the season with a total of 135 games.

I have yet to see some attendance figures for teams, but I'm still looking.

 

Independent Women's Football League

The IWFL was founded in 2000 and began play in 2001. They currently have 51 total teams, broken up into two tiers and three X teams. Tier I has 24 teams, Tier II has 24 and then there's three X teams. I have yet to figure out what the X teams are supposed to be.

Tier I is broken into the usual Eastern/Western conferences with three divisions (for each conference) of usually four teams (sometimes more or less). Tier II has no conferences or divisions; all the teams are just one long list. There is talk of expanding even further in the next year for both tiers.

There are ten weeks in the season with each team playing eight games. The season runs from early April to early June (sound kind of familiar?) with a late July Championship weekend. Each tier has their own championship and there is an All-Star Game. This league also states there is over 1,600 women playing in these 41 teams.

 

So, upon looking at the current leagues in women's football, it's clear there needs to be some restructuring and organization if you league owners want to succeed. Just look at the NFL; they had competition and you see how that turned out. It's hard to have two professional leagues in one country competing against each other.

First, it means the great talent is spread thin. Second, fans are divided up with all the teams and leagues. Lastly, sponsors are harder to get if there are four different leagues competing for them.

What's needed is a new system that works for all the leagues, owners, players, and fans. That's what I will discuss in my next letter.

Till then,

Dominica Stewart

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