On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams are joined by Clara Wu Tsai and Alison Klayman to discuss their documentary Unfinished Business, which highlights the WNBA’s 25-year history through the eyes of the New York Liberty. Wu Tsai owns the team alongside her husband Joe, and is the film’s executive producer; Klayman directed the film.
The group discusses the history of the WNBA, which made its debut in 1997 in front of massive crowds. Backed by the NBA, the league struggled to sustain that same success in the middle years, often drawing criticism from those in the media and (mostly male) basketball fans. They talk about the double standard facing women’s leagues regarding the time horizon of profitability, and also the challenges facing WNBA players regarding pay, travel and the physical demands of the sport.
They also talk about the WNBA’s recent momentum. The Tsais purchased the Liberty in 2019 (Clara and Joe are co-governors of the team), as part of a new wave of deep-pocketed owners. The league and its players inked a landmark CBA back in 2020, and the league was valued at $1 billion in a recent funding round. The next step, according to Wu Tsai, is a long-term media deal.
Lastly, the group discusses the increased interest in sports documentaries recently, and how the medium can be used to both deepen a league’s relationship with its avid fans and to attract new ones.