Jewell Loyd’s mom is raising awareness of her daughter’s league.
Just call them the mobilizing moms of the WNBA.
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In an effort to increase awareness and boost attendance at games, the mothers of WNBA players are starting a grassroots movement.
Women Hoop Too! is the basketball version of the female empowerment campaigns that are sweeping the nation.
Spearheaded by Gwendolyn Loyd, the mother of Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd, and her sisters, the movement is trying to fill a marketing void and help generate more revenue for the league.
Instead of using expensive advertisements and flashy promotions, they are using a mother’s ingenuity and resourcefulness to get things done.
They are holding up cardboard signs at games, meeting with local churches to sell tickets and spreading their message on social media.
“Our mission is all about promoting the WNBA to increase traffic in the stadiums, which would lead to an increase in salaries for the players,” Gwendolyn Loyd said. “We want more people to know about the WNBA and when they are playing. If every mother focused on going into their community and getting the word out, that would make a difference.”
Mothers have always been their children’s biggest advocates and that doesn’t stop once their children become adults.
After all, mothers are usually the ones devising complex schedules and driving their children to practices and games. Some worked multiple jobs to raise their kids and allow them to play sports.
They volunteered on PTA boards and fundraised to ensure their children had the best opportunities possible.
“Mothers understand these girls are great players and great people, but more people need to know how many great teams there are this season and how much wonderful basketball is being played,” said Gwendolyn Loyd, a former track athlete at Jackson State University nicknamed Roadrunner for her sprinting, hurdling and jumping prowess. “Young girls should be sitting in the stands watching. They need to see these teams in person to build a connection and we need to give the WNBA more exposure.”
Coming off a highly-rated WNBA Final last season between the Lynx and the Sparks and arguably the greatest Final Four in women’s college basketball history, the timing is right to capitalize on expanding interest in the sport.
The depth of talent in the game has never been greater, and social media has opened new channels to create awareness.
“We want people to pack the stadiums. We want them to be sitting in the seats and look at the players for the people they are,” said Montie Apostolos, Gwendolyn’s sister and Jewell’s aunt. “It’s going to take a movement for that to happen. If people are attending games, there can be more justification for paying these girls commiserate to the work they do.”