Caitlin Clark-led 2024 WNBA Draft shatters TV ratings record

The Caitlin Clark effect strikes again.

One of the biggest names in women’s basketball helped drive a 307 percent viewership increase for the 2024 WNBA Draft held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Monday, drawing a whopping 2.446 million viewers to ESPN’s coverage. . According to Sportico.

This huge increase is primarily due to the hype surrounding Clark being selected No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever.

Caitlin Clark signs autographs before the WNBA Draft at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Corey Shipkin of the New York Post

It was the first time a women’s league draft drew more than 1 million viewers, easily surpassing the viewership of both the 2023 MLB and NHL drafts. Reported by Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp..

The previous WNBA Draft viewership record was set 20 years ago when 601,000 viewers tuned in to watch Diana Taurasi get taken first by the Phoenix Mercury.

Tuesday’s draft featured big players, including Stanford’s Cameron Brink, who was taken second overall by the Los Angeles Sparks, national champion Camila Cardoso and LSU star Angel Reese, who went third overall to the Chicago Sky. Many stars of women’s basketball played in the crowd. -And the 7th overall pick.

But Clark was the biggest draw, spending his final year at Iowa.

The basketball superstar played in three of the most high-profile women’s college basketball games during Iowa State’s run to the national championship.

The Hawkeyes’ win over LSU in the Elite Eight drew a then-record 12.3 million viewers, while Iowa State’s Final Four win over UConn drew 14.2 million viewers. , the record was broken again.

The Indiana Fever drafted Caitlin Clark with the No. 1 pick during the WNBA Draft at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Corey Shipkin of the New York Post

Clark finished her college career as part of the most-watched women’s hoops broadcast, with 18.7 million viewers watching the national championship game between Iowa and South Carolina, peaking at 24 million viewers.

This recognition is a positive sign for the WNBA, which hopes Clark’s presence in the league next season, along with Reese, Cardoso, and Brink, will increase interest in the league.

Draft ratings were the highest of any televised WNBA game in 23 years, when the 2000 Liberty-Comets game on NBC averaged 2.74 million viewers. According to Sports Media Watch.

Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark reacted during an interview during the WNBA Basketball Draft. AP

The league is leaning heavily into Clarkmania by broadcasting 36 of the Fever’s 40 games nationally during the 2024 season.

The 22-year-old has set nearly every record in women’s college basketball to date, including becoming the Hawkeyes’ all-time leading scorer in women’s college hoops and surpassing NCAA basketball’s men’s or women’s Division I hoops scoring records. He had a historic senior season. He has 3,951 career points.

To cap off a memorable night on Monday, Clark set a new record. Becomes the Fanatics’ highest-selling draft pick. That’s more than 2021 NFL Draft No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence in draft night history.