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Starting this season, the term “March Madness” will be used to market the Division I women’s basketball tournament. This change came in large part because of NCAA’s gender equity report back in August.
Beginning in 2022, the D1 Women's Basketball Championship will use 'March Madness' branding.
March Madness branding was previously reserved for the men's tournament. pic.twitter.com/MzrwU5phht
— Just Women’s Sports (@justwsports) September 29, 2021
Honestly, we expected this after last year’s women’s workout facility trended all over Twitter. Now networks like ESPN are pushing failing ratings on the marketing departments and investments, similar to how Title IX came to fruition in college sports. Increasing facilities, sure, but suddenly March Madness on-court stickers are worth this battle?
According to UT San Antonio athletics director Lia Campos, this is only the beginning.
“This is just the start when it comes to improving gender equity in the way the two Division I basketball championships are conducted,” she said. “Adding the March Madness trademark to the Division I women’s basketball championship will enhance the development and public perception of the sport.”
Will it, though? A young girl will grow up, see women’s college basketball on TV and feel uninspired, then suddenly she notices the March Madness tag on the court and ticker below and thinks ‘everyone else is excited, so now I need to get involved’? That’s a brittle spirit, if we’re being honest. Maybe men’s March Madness is popular because of the product on the floor and not because of production intricacies?
People who don’t actually watch women’s basketball know this, however they’re called sexist if they say it aloud. Women’s college basketball deserves much better treatment than what they’ve endured, I should add, but it’s equally beneficial to recognize that the product itself needs to improve in some way. Those arguing for production improvements before product are arguing against the logic for low-budget cinema to catapult a producer into stardom. Producers don’t demand major budgets, commercials or billboards before they throw the box office into a frenzy with less. It’s not personal, it’s business. They understand the concept of proving their worth before asking for the treatment of a major producer.
Ultimately, I hope women get better treatment across the board — Those fighting for improvements can’t get lost in gestures and expect relevancy to follow. Improvements in facility, which is a tangible and important gripe, should peak excitement to our women’s youth.