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Despite Fans Being Concerned By WNBA Salaries, Caitlin Clark’s Excitement to Play Alongside Her Idols At Its Peak

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Despite Fans Being Concerned By WNBA Salaries, Caitlin Clark's Excitement to Play Alongside Her Idols At Its Peak

After the Indiana Fever picked Caitlin Clark with the first overall pick in the 2024 WNBA draft, the breakdown of her rookie contract went viral on social media. The former Iowa Hawkeyes star is set to earn a modest $338,000 in her first four seasons in the WNBA, a far cry from the four-year, $55 million contract that the 2023 NBA Draft’s top pick Victor Wembanyama signed with the San Antonio Spurs. Consequently, the conversation about the wage gap issue got so loud that President Joe Biden also chimed in on the issue on X, formerly Twitter.

While the conversation continues to rage on though, Clark isn’t too bothered. During her appearance on Wednesday’s episode of the Pat McAfee Podcast, the host asked her if she was feeling the pressure of taking women’s basketball to the next level. The guard responded,

“I don’t feel any pressure to take it to a place where it’s never been before. I think it’s just gonna happen the way we are on TV more, with the way people are following from the college game to the WNBA. I think expansion of the WNBA will certainly help.”

Clark added that she was excited to play in the WNBA and test her mettle against the best women’s basketball players,

“You gotta bring it every single night in the WNBA because it’s the best of the best. And that’s why I am excited for it… A lot of those players I idolized growing up. So it’ll be fun.”   

Clark’s assessment is spot on. As a player, all she can do to help the sport and the league is perform at a high level and that will automatically draw the audience in. Fans flocked to the stadiums and tuned in to the Hawkeyes’ games to watch her dominate and that’ll continue if she emulates her performances in the WNBA. As long as Clark plays well, she’ll be doing her job in taking the sport to the next level.

The Caitlin Clark effect on women’s basketball


While it’s unfair to expect Caitlin Clark to be the flagbearer of women’s basketball’s future, her unmatched influence makes it difficult to avoid putting that burden on her shoulders.

Per Nielsen, her last game for the Iowa Hawkeyes, the NCAA Championship Game against the South Carolina Gamecocks, drew 18.7 million viewers, a new record for a women’s basketball game, surpassing the previous mark of 14.2 million which was set during the Hawkeyes’ Final Four match against the UConn Huskies. The 2024 Women’s NCAA Championship Game was the first to draw more viewers than the Men’s championship game.

Clark brought her record-shattering ways to the WNBA draft as well. According to ESPN’s metrics, 2.45 million people tuned in to watch the Fever pick the Hawkeyes guard with the first overall pick in the draft. It shattered the WNBA draft’s previous viewership record of 601,000 set in 2004 when Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi went first overall.

It’s difficult to escape the supposition that Clark is the messiah women’s basketball craved for. She has a proven track record of being a must-watch player, and WNBA teams are preparing to cash in on the hype.

Post Edited By:Tonoy Sengupta

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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