It's time to capitalize on the momentum with women's pro sports teams and leagues

Oh yeah, that was me on soccer yesterday because our buddy She Who (Still) Supports Arsenal is off on a well-deserved vacation and it was a lot of fun to fill in for a few hours.

And in the course of those chats – and I certainly left the heavy lifting on the questioning to those who know far more – one thing did become apparent:

It’s time for a women’s pro league here, everyone one agrees; or at the very least a Canadian-based NWSL team, maybe here, maybe Vancouver, maybe Edmonton but certainly somewhere.

It’s the same with the basketball and a WNBA franchise, something Irregular know I’ve been proposing for quite some time.

The issue, of course, is money in both cases and I think that might be the sole impediment.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who are a bit dubious about the support a team or a league would get but I think as time goes by, that issue is being resolved.

I do believe there are now enough fans of each sport to make a team, or a league, sustainable over time. Maybe that was in doubt at one point, the thought being it might be a cool curiosity for a year or two but it’s long-term success might not be guaranteed by that time is gone.

Not only have we seen enough support of one-off teams and events to see the sheer numbers of fans, I think those fans are of a certain age that their purchasing power, and willingness to offer long-term support, cannot be denied.

There seems to be a critical mass of fans of women’s sports building, and even in existence, that the time is right to pounce.

But the question is how?

I think the CEBL has proven that a well-managed, well thought-out, well-executed business plan will allow a truly “Canadian” league to thrive as long as it doesn’t try to get too big, too fast.

Maybe that works for the soccer and maybe that works for basketball and maybe, if the women’s hockey tries to maybe scale back from the idea that two leagues can survive and coalesce into one, it works, too.

The other idea, one that might make the most sense quickly, is a team that Canada can support, with ticket sales, TV viewership, streaming possibilities, merchandise sales.

It might not serve the greatest number of participants but it might serve as a giant step in the direction of building a league.

But there is no denying that now is the time to strike.

Now is the time for careful, thoughtful, business-based move to establish, if not leagues, certainly pro franchises to satisfy the growing demand.

To miss out that opportunity would be wrong. Wrong for business interests, I think, but bad for fans and bad for athletes and bad for the greater good.

Just glancing through the inbox yesterday it seems you’ve done a fine job with submissions for Ye Olde Mailbag already.

But there’s always room for more, there’s always stuff happening so click on askdoug@thestar.ca sometime today and say hello. I’d love to hear from (some) of you.

I’m telling you, after a summer spent mostly watching day soccer from the Euros and the last couple of weeks watching morning events from Tokyo this having to get back to mostly night events is totally screwing with what was a great pace of life.

It was impossible to stay awake for the second half of the Blue Jays doubleheader last night, it was all I could do to stay up to watch Bianca win a tough match in Montreal.

I don’t know what the answer is but we, well, I, need some consistency in game times.

Of all the fun the Blue Jays have had this year – and that looks like a bunch of guys who really enjoy each other’s company – I think the best thing they’ve done is start the tradition of that Homer Jacket that whoever hit the last home run gets to, or has to, wear.

It’s harmless fun, it seems to be something they enjoy and it’s celebratory without showing anyone up. I bet it becomes a bigger thing when September rolls around and every game becomes bigger and the intensity gets ratcheted up because it’s fun and it seems to be a bit stress-relieving.

I wish every other team would do something similar.

As a second part of somewhat busy August mid-week day, I scribbled a little Raptors item yesterday and the takeaway after talking to a couple of people to gain some insight for it was that it’s time for everyone to take a break.

It’s been basically non-stop since the start of the Orlando Bubble all those months ago, a difficult and tiring season, a short off-season this summer that’s been filled with things and I bet everyone connected with team would like a few weeks to decompress, draw a few deep breaths and get away from it all.

Training camp, believe it or not, starts in less than six weeks and I sure hope we can all get away from it all for the first three weeks of September at least so there’s some level of freshness when it gets going again.

Who’s with me?

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