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Caitlin Clark Helps WNBA Shine as Viewership Skyrockets

Photo from Caitlin Clark’s Instagram

Caitlin Clark Helps WNBA Shine as Viewership Skyrockets

By Movieguide® Contributor

Caitlin Clark might not have performed the way she wanted to for her WNBA debut with the Indiana Fever, but the athlete garnered 2.12 million viewers on ESPN2.

This is a remarkable feat because ESPN2 viewership rarely ever exceeds ESPN primetime, which featured an NHL playoff game during the same time.

Clark’s debut game also “topped ESPN’s previous mark of nearly 1.5 million viewers for a Phoenix Mercury-Connecticut Sun game on May 22, 2004, in Diana Taurasi’s rookie season.”

According to Sports Media Watch, “Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut was the league’s most-watched game in 23 years.”

In her first professional game, Clark totaled 20 points but had 10 turnovers. She went 5-15 for shooting and only 4-11 beyond the arc.

“Obviously I’m disappointed. Nobody likes to lose, that’s how it is,” Clark said after the game.

“But I don’t think you can beat yourself up too much about one game. I don’t think that’s going to help this team. No matter who it is on this team, no one can do that with how they played,” she continued. “Just learn from it and move on.”

With pressure from every side to perform at the highest level, Clark took a bit to settle into her own style of play.

“I thought the second half was a lot better, minus some of the turnovers. But just getting more comfortable, and that’s going to come with experience and getting to play with these girls,” she explained. “And the more games I play, the more comfortable I’m going to get.”

Indiana Fever head coach Christie Sides said after the game, “Caitlin was able to get her some looks, able to knock them down. our spacing was not great. Connecticut came in and punched us in the mouth tonight. We’ll be in the gym tomorrow watching a lot of video trying to figure out how not to turn the ball over 25 times.”

Movieguide® reported on the viewership between UCONN-IOWA for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four:

The UConn-Iowa Final Four game shattered college women’s basketball ratings for ESPN.

Per Variety, “ESPN’s nighttime telecast of UConn-Iowa faceoff delivered an audience of 14.2 million viewers, a new high mark for a women’s college basketball game, per ESPN citing Nielsen data. The game that ended 71-69 was a nail-biter with a one-point margin until the final seconds. The audience turnout topped the short-lived ratings record for a women’s college basketball game of 12.3 million viewers set on April 1 with Iowa’s victory over LSU in the Elite 8 game.”

At one point, over 17 million viewers were tuned into the game.

The Athletic writer Richard Deitsch wrote, “To put this in perspective. This game tops… Every World Series game last year. Every NBA Finals game last year. Every Daytona 500 since 2013. Every Masters final round viewership since 2013. All but five CFB games in 2023.”


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