WNBA Draft Smashes Ratings Records for ESPN With Caitlin Clark Going #1

Caitlin Clark continues to be a huge box office draw: The women’s college basketball phenom drove this year’s WNBA draft to record ratings for ESPN, with Clark getting drafted first overall by the Indiana Fever.

Monday’s draft coverage drew 2.45 million viewers, according to Sportico, which quadruples (!) the previous viewership high, set in 2004 when Diana Taurasi going first overall to the Phoenix Mercury drew 601,000 total viewers. This year, Clark went first overall, with South Carolina center Kamilla Cardoso going third to the Chicago Sky, who also picked up LSU’s Angel Reese with the seventh overall pick.

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Clark, who became the all-time leading scorer (men’s or women’s) in NCAA Division I college basketball history this year for the Iowa Hawkeyes, has dazzled fans with her sharp shooting and brought a wave of new attention to the sport of women’s basketball. Iowa’s loss to South Carolina in this year’s NCAA women’s basketball championship game drew a whopping 18.7 million viewers earlier this month, becoming the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever and even topping this year’s men’s college basketball championship. (That may explain why the Indiana Fever, with Clark now on the roster, will have 36 of their 40 WNBA games broadcast nationally this season.)

Clark even stopped by Saturday Night Live this past week to poke fun at Weekend Update host Michael Che for his long history of making crude jokes at the expense of women’s sports. (Watch the full video here.)

Will you watch more WNBA this year now that Clark is in the pros? Hit the comments to share your thoughts.

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