Cynical Synapse

Fri, 23 Oct 2009

Metro Detroit Loses Another Point of Light

Filed under: Detroit, Economy, Life, Michigan, Sexism, Sports — Tags: , , — cynicalsynapse @ 11:56 pm

Three-time WNBA champions, the Detroit Shock are moving to Tulsa. Their championship years: 2003, 2006, and 2008. They’re winners, having reached the playoffs their last 7 seasons and the finals the last 4 seasons.

Detroit is a good sports town and everyone loves a winner. So why are the Shock moving? Attendance at WNBA games has been anemic, at best, slipping to about 8,000 per game. With injuries and when Coach Bill Laimbeer resigned 3 games into the 2009 season, it’s been a difficult year for the Shock, even though they made the finals. Palace Sports & Entertainment president Tom Wilson blames the economy.

Some see the issue as due to women’s athletics being less equal than men’s. That seems to be born out by WNBA attendance figures. That may be part of why only 5 WNBA teams of the original 10 remain from the Shock’s first year in 1998.

I think another kick in the pants here is lack of publicity. I remember hearing about the Shock being champions one year, but I didn’t realize they had three titles. And I sure didn’t know they were in the playoffs every year since 2002 or even the playoffs since 2005. I’m not a big sports guy, so it’s tough for me to point the finger on this one, but I’d blame both the team and the media. I know when Detroit’s other teams are in contention, but I didn’t even know the Shock made the playoffs this year. No press, no attendance.

As teamowens313 said: “The real Shock should be how calmly we’re watching this great team be taken from us. The Shock deserved so much better from Detroit”. And metro Detroit has one less point of light to shine on the positives the region has to offer.



  1. Detroit is overrated as a sports town. Look at the Tigers. They dropped over 20% in attendance despite going from last place in 2008 to the playoffs this year.

    Comment by pilight — Sat, 24 Oct 2009 @ 9:04 am

    • Thanks for your comments. There’s no question hockey is the king sport in Detroit.

      As I see it, all sports are affected by our region’s economic woes to some degree. As for the Tigers, they’re inconsistent. Big wins one day, big losses the next. Then there’s that whole Cabrera thing.

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Sat, 24 Oct 2009 @ 4:16 pm

  2. Hey.

    Good piece,nicely done, and glad to see you addressing the issue of the Shock’s departure as well. It really is a loss for Detroit, but you’d never know it from the lack of coverage. And thanks much for the ‘D’ Spot mention!

    Comment by teamowens313 — Tue, 27 Oct 2009 @ 2:43 pm

    • I think lack of media attention has been the Shock’s main problem.

      Thanks for checking in and sharing your thoughts.

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Tue, 27 Oct 2009 @ 8:29 pm

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