It turns out the idea hooked the media as well. Numerous outlets picked up the story including Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, and ESPN, with everyone wondering, why kale? The university heavily promoted the event on social media, after which it became the water-cooler talk on campus, according to student's who attended. The team didn’t win—but by the end of the game, all of the original 100 kale salads were gone.
The school even hosted a kale-eating contest featuring two of the attendees. The contenders were two Georgetown freshmen: Max Rosner (who said he’s not a fan of women’s basketball but came for the kale) and Jacob Steinberg (a self-proclaimed kale superfan and avid supporter of women’s basketball). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Steinberg emerged the victor after devouring his plate of raw kale.
While part of the objective of the kale game was to promote healthy eating, the other was to draw more students to women’s basketball games. After all, the team’s record this season of four wins and 27 losses suggests that it needs all the support it can get.
While women’s sports can draw certain crowds (even Tom Cruise attended a women’s NCAA Final Four game this year), they have always had a difficult time incentivizing attendance at games—perhaps in large part because fans tend to find men’s sports far more appealing than those involving females. With regard to basketball in particular, some writers have argued that sports enthusiasts don’t like to watch women outfitted in masculine outfits and engaging in ostensibly "unfeminine" acts like elbowing and pushing. Instead, they arguably prefer watching women play sports like tennis, where they wear skirts, or beach volleyball, which typically entails little more than a bikini. Other analysts say that the small number of female sports journalists has led to less overall coverage of women’s sports—and that the limited media attention also takes a toll on these teams' popularity. A 2012 report commissioned by Associated Press Sports Editors assigned media outlets an F grade for gender representation among sports columnists and editors.
But one of the most commonly cited reasons among both males and females for preferring men’s sports is that women’s sports are boring. Even Stacey Pressman, a woman and contributor to ESPN The Magazine, in 2003 told the New York Times,"I’m bored out of my skull at women’s basketball games. I prefer a few women's events, like tennis, but I refuse to be politically correct about basketball. I'm sorry, but 40 minutes of underhanded layups is not entertaining.''
The bottom line is that women’s sports have always had and continue to have difficulty attracting fans. While Division I women’s basketball teams in the NCAA made significant gains in attendance numbers in the 2006-07 season, the numbers have largely slowed in growth ever since. Even some of the strongest women’s teams, like the University of Connecticut’s Huskies—the only team to finish consecutive seasons as undefeated national champions in NCAA Division I women's basketball history—have faced slipping attendance numbers. Down south, the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, which have made an appearance in every NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship since the 1981-82 season (when the NCAA began sanctioning women’s sports), has seen its attendance numbers fall annually since the 2011 season. At some schools, the numbers have even prompted public appeals for a new paradigm. For example, a female student at Syracuse University, a school well-known for its winning men’s basketball team, penned a column earlier this year for the campus newspaper calling for equal fan support at both women’s and men’s basketball games.