Caitlin Clark fever hits the WNBA breaking 23-year-old ratings record

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut last Wednesday became the most-watched regular season game since 2001. 

Despite Clark’s Indiana Fever losing 92-71 to the Connecticut Sun, the opening game of the WNBA season on ESPN2 saw an average viewership of 2.12 million. 

Wednesday night’s game was even more impressive considering the sporting competition it was up against, as there were two NBA playoff games and two NHL playoff games that same evening. 

The Fever-Sun game, in turn, became the most-viewed WNBA regular season since the 2001 game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Houston Cornets

Other contributing factors to the appeal of the WNBA curtain-raiser were the participation of 5x All-Star DeWanna Bonner and 4x All-Star Alyssa Thomas, both of the Sun. 

Whilst Clark scored 20 points against the Sun, she had a record-tieing 10 turnovers for a player on her WNBA debut, whilst also shooting 33% from the field. Clark’s debut may have been underwhelming, but her marketing and appeal is already being felt across the league. 

ESPN understood the attention Clark’s debut was generating and significantly marketed the Fever-Sun game across all platforms. 

Breaking TV records has become something of the norm during the infancy of Clark’s basketball career so far. The women’s NCAA all-time points scorer broke viewership records upon records for March Madness games she was involved in the past two years. 

Much of her popularity stems from her performances on the court. Adopting the current style of attention to three-point shooting and excelling in high-pressure moments in-game. 

Despite becoming a dominant force in college whilst playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes, Clark failed to win the National Championship during her four-year term. Many have also suggested she may struggle early on in the WNBA due to the skill level gap between the professional and college games. 

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