Not in the mood to bother trying to find the link right now, but not too long ago I read a great article about why women's athletic leagues make a big mistake when they try to sell their sport with sex. Unfortunately it's not enough that this is really regressive sexism, but it also doesn't work in drawing fans -- when the WNBA, for example, pumps out posters of their players in sexy outfits, the pictures are popular, but this doesn't translate to any greater reach for the league.
And it's not too hard to figure out why -- sexualizing women's athletics may draw eyes to pictures, but it doesn't make people see women as competent or successful athletes. And it certainly isn't very likely to get young women interested in taking up the sport, thereby depriving the league of growth potential through their possible future talents. Other, more successful, programs to get people interested in women's athletics focus on making the sports more exciting or accessible.
This is why the recent announcements of FIBA's proposed changes to women's international basketball are both exciting and terrible. On the one hand, FIBA is considering lowering the rims to increase inside play and bring dunking beyond the limited realm of Candace Parker into the sport in general. This is the good kind of change -- the kind of change that makes the game more exciting and interesting to the casual fan.
On the unfortunate other hand, FIBA is also considering raising the hemline on women's shorts to more accentuate their feminine bodies, or some dumb ass shit like that. Because the only reason international women's basketball competitions don't get more viewers is because those damn basketball shorts aren't sexy enough. I know the reason I tune into the NBA is because those guys wear properly sexy shorts...