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Caitlin Clark Effect: WNBA Ratings, Attendance Surge in First Month

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The presence of rookie star Caitlin Clark has made such an impression on the WNBA that its ratings and attendance were boosted to record numbers in the first month of the new season.

“Roughly 400,000 fans attended games across the WNBA during May, making the largest attendance in 26 years for the opening month of a season, and the league boasted that more than half of all WNBA games had been sellouts, which was a 156% increase from the prior year,” reported the New York Post.

Across the country, WNBA arenas have reported filling up to 94% capacity, with WNBA games averaging 1.32 million viewers across the big networks ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and CBS. Just last year, the WNBA averaged 462,000 viewers.

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever poses for a photo with fans before a game against the New York Liberty at Barclays Center on June 02, 2024 in New...

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, poses for a photo with fans before a game against the New York Liberty at Barclays Center on June 02, 2024, in New York City. (Luke Hales/Getty Images)

“What’s happening now in women’s basketball is confirmation of what we’ve always known: The demand is there, and women’s sports is a valuable investment,” Chief Growth Officer Colie Edison said in a statement. “We’re encouraged by growing engagement across all our verticals, especially as we welcome new and diverse audiences into our fandom. The WNBA continues to experience sustained growth as our league embraces this heightened momentum.”

The effect of rookie star Caitlin Clark cannot be understated, given that her first three games of the season “set records for the most-watched WNBA game of all time on the respective networks,” per the NY Post.

“The May 14 season opener between the Fever and Sun averaged 2.12 million viewers for ESPN 2; on May 18, ABC averaged 1.71 million viewers when the Fever took on the Liberty, and on May 20, 1.56 million viewers watched the Sun and Fever go at it again on ESPN,” it noted.

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever signs autographs for fans before the game against the Chicago Sky on June 1, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in...

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, signs autographs for fans before the game against the Chicago Sky on June 1, 2024, at Bainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

News of the ratings spike comes after the U.S. Olympic team announced that Caitlin Clark did not make the roster for this year’s summer games in Paris.

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via June 10th 2024