July 14, 2016
Seattle Storm’s rookie sensation Breanna Stewart took home two awards last night at ESPN’s annual ESPY Awards show held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. She won both Best Female College Athlete and Best Female Athlete, beating out WNBA’s own MVP Elena Delle Donne, swimmer Katie Ledecky, and gymnast Simone Biles. After completing an amazing college career at the University of Connecticut, where Stewart won four National Championships, she now plays in the WNBA for the Seattle Storm after being drafted as the number one pick in the 2016 WNBA draft. No stranger to the lights and cameras, once Stewart stepped on stage to accept her award, she opened with “This is a lot of people.” With all those people in attendance, an audience filled with some of the best athletes in the world, many celebrities and a ton of sports fans, Stewart used this moment to share a message about supporting women and girls in sport.
At Connecticut, the Husky women averaged almost 9,000 fans per game. So far this season, which is the league’s 20th, the WNBA’s Attendance Average is a little over 7,000. Although an increase from the 2015 season, the WNBA has struggled to bring the fans and sponsorships many on the inside believe it deserves. Stewart took this opportunity to express her concern for the lack of support women on the professional level have received.
“I’d like to thank my fans, my family, UConn, my coaches and all my teammates,” Stewart said upon receiving the award. “I’d also like to thank ESPN and the media. During my time in college, I received much media attention. I am grateful for that.
“But now that I am in the WNBA, playing with other amazing female athletes, I’m trying to understand why we, as professional female athletes, don’t receive anywhere near the fame. This has to change.” [Read more…]