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Phenomenal Performance by Caitlin Clark: WNBA Draft Sets Record Audience on ESPN


According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, Caitlin Clark drove the WNBA Draft audience in 2024 to a record average of 2.45 million viewers on ESPN, more than quadrupling last year's audience of 572,000 viewers. This achievement marks the largest audience for a WNBA broadcast since 1999-2000, when 2.74 million viewers watched a New York Liberty vs. Houston Comets game on NBC. Over the subsequent 25 years, no WNBA broadcasts, including playoffs and finals, have surpassed the one-million viewer mark.



This promising surge in viewership comes as the WNBA seeks to renegotiate its television rights to increase revenue. Currently, the women's league receives only $60 million per year for its rights, compared to the NBA's $2.7 billion annual deal. With this new momentum, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is even considering breaking away from joint negotiations with the NBA to secure a more lucrative deal.



The attention around Caitlin Clark extends beyond the WNBA, with NBC and USA Basketball also closely monitoring her television performance ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, where she could join the women's national basketball team, enhancing her appeal to commercial partners.




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