Mercury Coach Mad At WNBA Crowd For Brittney Griner’s First Game Back: ‘How Was It Not A Sellout?’

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Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard was baffled that Brittney Griner’s first game of the season wasn’t sold out.

The Mercury traveled to Los Angeles for the WNBA opener and it was Griner’s first game since she was released from Russian custody following a Soviet-style show trial on drug charges.

It was such an important night for the WNBA that Vice President Kamala Harris even made an appearance, and 10,396 fans bought tickets to attend the game at Arena.

However, it wasn’t a complete sellout, and that seemingly fried Griner’s coach.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris attended Brittney Griner’s first game of the season. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“I mean, it was great. But like honestly, c’mon now LA. We didn’t sell out the arena for BG? Like, I expected more, you know, to be honest. Right, it was great, it was loud. But how was it not a sellout? How was it not a sellout,” Nygaard said after the game when reacting to the crowd size.

Yes, more than 10,000 fans and the VP at a WNBA game just isn’t enough.

Vanessa Nygaard wanted more fans at Brittney Griner’s first game back.

For the record, the Sparks averaged roughly 5,650 fans at home games last season, according to

Attendance damn near doubled for the opener, but it just wasn’t good enough for Nygaard. Of all the things to do in Los Angeles on a Friday night, attending a WNBA game to see Brittney Griner is supposed to be at the top of the list.

Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard complains more people didn’t show up to Brittney Griner’s first game back. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

UCLA and USC struggle to draw fans when they’re not having great seasons, and both are prestigious college football programs, especially the former.

It also has absolutely nothing to do with sexism. I’m reminded of the legendary Bill Burr rant about how men support all their teams and it’s up to women and women alone to make the WNBA a success.

The WNBA should be doing backflips with joy that more than 10,000 fans showed up to a game. That’s an incredible number for any WNBA game, especially given the fact the Sparks and most other WNBA teams don’t draw big numbers. Brittney Griner is home, more than 10,000 fans showed up for her first game since being freed from Russia and the Vice President was in the house. That should be more than enough to make anyone involved with the WNBA incredibly happy.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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