SURE, THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR overstated the case for Seattle’s ambivalence toward the Storm when it claimed last March that the popularity of the team ranks “somewhere between venereal disease and drought.” But it didn’t overstate it by much: Only 8,000 fans bothered to show up for each of the team’s two home playoff games last September—1,700 short of a sellout!—even after it banked a franchise-record 22 wins and dished out a dose of pro-sports Prozac during the Great Sports Depression of ’08. Seattle. Time to reverse our sagging athletic support.
1 History counts for something
The Storm’s first home game tips off June 7, which happens to be the 10th anniversary of the day Seattle landed its WNBA expansion franchise. Of the four teams that launched that year, ours has the best all-time record and the only championship, and two folded after three seasons—including the Portland Fire. What’s not to celebrate?
2 Their paychecks are paltry (comparatively speaking)
Screaming ourselves hoarse over grown men who bank eight-figure salaries for six months of work felt silly even in the days of conspicuous consumption, but we did it anyway. We can assuage bouts of recession-era anguish for supporting pro sports with this fact: No one in the WNBA makes even $100,000.
3 Tickets are cheap
Let’s talk economics of scarcity: The Mariners play 81 home games, and their priciest six-game ticket package costs $348. The Storm only plays 17 home games, but the team’s top six-game ticket package costs $100 less. Let’s show some fiscally responsible fandom in this down economy.
4 The LJ factor
Lauren Jackson, a 6-5 tower of Aussie awesome, is the Storm’s version of Shawn Kemp—minus the drug charges—but she’s leaving Seattle and the league at season’s end. If the inevitability of losing its hardwood femme fatale isn’t enough to inspire the team to make a run for its second WNBA championship, nothing is.
5 It’s the only game in town
What’s the old saying? “Beggars can’t be whiny sexists?” The Sonics are gone, and the bill that would have funded renovations to the Key—and made it possible for the NBA to come back to town—is dead. Stop mourning and accept that these girls got game: Sue Bird puts up 15 points per night, almost twice what Nick Collison averaged in Seattle, and he makes $6 million a year. You want pro hoops? You’ve got pro hoops.