WNBA’s Reigning Queen: Caitlin Clark Holds Onto Top Spot in Latest Ratings

Newcomer Caitlin Clark, the top pick in the WNBA draft, has swiftly asserted her dominance in the league, even though she has played only 11 games and her team has a disappointing 2-9 record, which is not solely her responsibility.

As of Sunday, June 2, WNBA games featuring Caitlin Clark have averaged an impressive 1.099 million viewers. In stark contrast, games without Clark have averaged just 414,000 viewers. For perspective, the WNBA averaged 301,000 viewers per game last season. While overall interest in the WNBA has grown year-over-year, the fascination with Clark significantly surpasses the rest of the league.

Those who downplay Clark’s influence on the rising popularity of women’s basketball and the WNBA are misguided. While other elements, such as the presence of star players like Sabrina Ionescu, MVP’s Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, and fellow rookies Angel Reese and Cameron Brink, add to the league’s expansion, Clark’s impact is undeniable.

The WNBA currently earns around $60 million annually from its TV and streaming deals with ABC-ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, CBS, and ION. With the excitement surrounding Clark, the league aims to boost its annual media-rights revenue to between $80 million and $100 million, forecasts former ESPN executive John Kosner. ABC-ESPN accounts for about two-thirds of the WNBA’s annual rights income on a deal that, like the NBA’s, will expire after the 2024-25 season. Increased revenue usually translates to higher viewership, particularly with the existing talent pool.

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Clark leads her team in minutes (33), points (15.6 ppg), and assists (6.4 apg), the latter of which ranks her fourth in the entire league. She also averages 5.1 rebounds per game. However, she leads the league in turnovers with 5.4 per game, a stat she would surely prefer to improve.

Despite her team’s struggles, Caitlin Clark’s individual performance and the resulting surge in viewership spotlight her as a central figure in the WNBA’s ongoing growth and popularity. As the league continues to leverage her star power, the future looks promising for both Clark and the WNBA.

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