Caitlin Clark Is Supercharging Women’s Sports

By: Keith Wagstaff · April 17, 2024 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Going Pro

Caitlin Clark has joined the WNBA. On Monday night, she was drafted first overall by the Indiana Fever and demand for the team’s tickets are skyrocketing already.

But her impact isn’t limited to the Fever. Put on your best sneakers, we’re about to explore the Caitlin Clark effect and why it’s great for fans, the WNBA, and women’s sports in general.

The Caitlin Clark Effect

Clark’s heartbreaking loss in the NCAA Championship Game drew 18.4 million viewers, the most of any basketball game, college or pro, since 2019.

This heightened interest might explain why the average resale value of a Fever ticket is up 132% from last year, according to SeatGeek. WNBA officials are hoping that demand translates to TV viewership. Its media rights deal ends in October 2025 and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert hopes to at least double the $60 million annually it makes under its current contract.

Last year, with New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu in the spotlight, the WNBA drew its highest ratings ever. It’s hard to imagine those ratings going down with Clark in the league.

Beyond basketball, women’s sports could generate $1 billion in global revenue this year, according to consulting firm Deloitte. That’s up 300% from its estimate in 2021.

Why Fans Are Happy

WNBA front offices and players aren’t the only people benefitting from the women’s basketball boom.

For the upcoming regular season, fans will be able to watch WNBA games on ABC, ESPN, CBS, Amazon’s Prime Video, and other platforms, with more contests than ever in primetime slots.

Women’s sports bars like A Bar of Their Own in Minneapolis are popping up across the country. And the WNBA could expand to four more markets by 2028, with Philadelphia, Toronto, Portland, Denver, and other cities in discussion with the league.

With the Professional Women’s Hockey League finishing its first season and the approach of the Summer Olympics, where crowd favorites Simone Biles and Sha’Carri Richardson will star, it’s shaping up to be a phenomenal year for women in sports.

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