Opinion: Bring women’s professional sports to Denver

Have attitudes about women’s sports changed? After the record-breaking 18.9 million people who watched the NCAA women’s basketball championship game between Iowa and South Carolina last month — a whopping six million more than the 13.08 million people who watched the Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals last year – it would seem there’s been a culture shift.

But to what? Do these newfound fans also consider themselves feminists finally ready to invest?

These female athletes are playing for more than one person, one team, or one city. They are playing for something universal to women who know what it’s like to make less money, have less power, and be disrespected despite their obvious skills and successes: equality.

We shouldn’t be surprised what happens when women are given the same resources and opportunities as their male counterparts to be all of who they are. Brava to the University of Colorado lady ballers for its Sweet 16 performance.

The Indiana Fever, and the city of Indianapolis, will no doubt capitalize on the attention that No. 1 WNBA draft pick Caitlin Clark brings with her, and already, some of the more high-profile games across the country have moved to larger arenas and ticket prices continue to increase to more than $500 in some cases.

There is capital to be gained when equality wins. It’s a classic “yes, and” model that Denver would be sorry to miss out on if it doesn’t make moves to bring in both a WNBA team and a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team. Many of those professionals are from the Centennial State and proudly represent the U.S. Women’s National Team, which will be playing at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on June 1 in a friendly against South Korea. Shout out to For Denver FC for working to make the latter happen.

Women’s sports can transform how the world sees women and benefit the communities that champion them. While women’s sports have historically exemplified the less-than value that society has placed on women writ large, the last few months have proved that it was not the athletes who rose to meet the moment. It was our society finally rising to meet women where they have always been: leading, loving, winning. To garner this attention is, in some ways, a reclamation of what it means to be a woman in this world; that is, what we are seeing now reflects how women have always seen themselves – as great.

Even without women’s professional sports teams, small businesses, like Lady Justice Brewing in Englewood, are benefiting from the interest in women’s sports. . Lady Justice, a woman and LGBTQIA+ owned and operated company whose mission is to “brew great beer and make the world a better place,” partnered with Togethxr, a media and commerce company, to improve accessibility and visibility for anyone wanting a place to watch the games. Lady Justice, along with 21 other venues across the country, agreed to broadcast the entirety of the women’s NCAA tournament because the reality is “everyone watches women’s sports.”

Champions of the game are finally championing women, and so long as this fandom translates into respect for the various roles all women play in our lives as mothers, sisters, and daughters; bosses, co-workers, and employees; wives, best friends, and lovers; leaders, learners, and teachers, we can live new futures. I want to live in a world where capital and equality can not only co-exist but co-create the very best of what we might imagine together here in Denver.

Kristen Dalton is a freelance writer who lives in Denver and works in cybersecurity. She played Division One basketball at Lehigh University long before the NCAA started using its March Madness branding for the women’s tournament.

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