General view of the Los Angeles Sparks logo at midcourt before the WNBA game against the Indiana Fever the Staples Center. Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

No one was looking to The Bill Simmons Podcast for good takes on the WNBA.

After a conversation from the latest episode about what the league should do to cater to wider audiences, it’s unlikely to draw much of an audience in the future.

Sports business and media writer Ethan Strauss was a guest on Simmons’ pod this week and the two men launched into a discussion around the WNBA. As interest in the league is sky-high thanks to the influx of exciting rookies like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, the league has a prime opportunity to market itself to new fans.

While many experts would say those opportunities lie in the form of expanded reach for game broadcasts and improvements to the existing viewing tools, Strauss stressed another way forward: Changing the names of the teams to be lady versions of the NBA franchises in the same city.

“The one thing they should have done, and maybe there’s still time to do, that they didn’t do from the outset, is just use the same team names,” said Strauss. “Like why force people to learn about the Fever? Why not just have the W Pacers? I think that makes it so much easier to just resonate and cut across.”

Simmons mentioned the old tradition of referring to women’s teams as the “Lady” version of the standard mascot name, implying that perhaps they could have been the Indiana Lady Pacers.

Obviously, there are a lot of problems here. The most glaring is that not every WNBA franchise shares a city with an NBA franchise. The Seattle Lady SuperSonics doesn’t exactly make a lot of sense right now.  And what would the Las Vegas Aces be called in this instance? If the NBA later added a franchise in Las Vegas, would they be known as the M Aces?

Second, not every WNBA franchise is also owned by the same people who own the corresponding NBA franchise.

Third, is it really so hard to learn the names of 12 WNBA teams?

Fourth, and most importantly, the notion that the most prominent women’s basketball league needs to brand itself as “the women’s version of the NBA in order to make itself more appealing to male fans” is as problematic as it sounds. And the sports world had some thoughts on that.

[The Bill Simmons Podcast]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to