2. LPGA's Financial Troubles
RCS: Among your most enduring legacies is to womens' sports. But in a recent column you wrote about the financial troubles of the LPGA. In these tough economic times, what does the womens' tour have to do in order to survive?
Brennan: That's a really good question, and I think it's an important question -- and not just for people who care about women's sports, but for anyone who has a daughter, or a granddaughter, or a niece. That pretty much covers everybody. I think about how we are going to look at some of the challenges facing women's sports, vis-a-vis creating role models for our daughters. We as a society have come to believe very strongly in having women play sports at a very high level, from little five-year-old soccer on up. Yet as a society we have not yet embraced supporting women's professional sports to the degree that we support men's professional sports. I'm not sure we'll ever get there, and I'm not sure we even need to get there.
Men's sports have had a huge head start. I love men's sports, lots of people love men's sports, and if that's what they want to watch and spend money on, that's fine, of course. With the economy today, there are only so many dollars to go around, so women's sports like the LPGA are suffering. I think some people support women's sports for altruistic reasons, the idea being to spend money on it because it's important for your daughter to have a role model. But altruism only goes so far. Most people buy tickets because of the entertainment value, and that's where men's sports dominate. Whether it be the LPGA, or the WNBA, or Women's Professional Soccer, I would hope we as a society can say we should continue to support them all.
But in this economy it's very difficult. So the LPGA is going to take some hits that the PGA isn't going to take because it's so much bigger and richer. But I do think the LPGA is going to survive, and I certainly hope the WNBA and WPS survive. I hope we continue to give our daughters the opportunities to see role models in professional sports, women who look like them, and women who are achieving great things. Girls growing up can see women not only playing sports, but women coaching and women owning the team, and that's important. So it's a bigger issue than just the LPGA to me. It's about what we as a society would like to have for our daughters in the future.
10 Questions with Christine Brennan