Pat McAfee and Caitlin Clark Credit: The Pat McAfee Show

Pat McAfee has the answer to a question many in sports media are asking for the first time: How do we cover women’s basketball?

As Caitlin Clark jumps to the pros with the Indiana Fever this spring and summer, McAfee is ahead of the curve. It helps that Clark will play in McAfee’s adopted home of Indianapolis where he and The Pat McAfee Show broadcast from the Thunderdome outside town, but McAfee is not reinventing the wheel. Instead, he’s weaving women’s hoops into the normal flow of his show by treating it like… a sport.

McAfee is open about the fact that he is a laggard when it comes to women’s basketball fandom. He, like many, were swept up by Clarkmania starting last year during the NCAA Tournament.

Since then, McAfee has hosted multiple women’s basketball guests and treated Clark’s trajectory as a must-cover news cycle the same way PMS does with Patrick Mahomes or Nick Saban.

Throughout the 2023 WNBA playoffs (which ESPN broadcasts exclusively), PMS gave betting picks for games.

After the Las Vegas Aces won the championship, star guard Kelsey Plum joined the show.

Heading into the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, McAfee broadcast live from the University of Iowa at Hawkeye-Carver Arena, where he interviewed head women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder about the tourney, her team, and Clark’s greatness.

McAfee gave each tourney equal billing before the numbers told him to. ESPN’s Elle Duncan, who anchored studio coverage of the women’s tournament, even hopped on PMS ahead of Rece Davis the week that March Madness began.

After openly pushing to interview Clark throughout the college season, McAfee finally got his elusive target.

Clark joined The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday after arriving in Indianapolis for the start of her pro career, teasing a potential recurring appearance on the show.

Then, McAfee announced a giveaway of Fever season tickets in conjunction with Clark’s appearance on the show.

Why does McAfee do this so naturally when other shows recede into their worst impulses breaking down women’s sports? To start, McAfee resists those impulses generally.

PMS is at its best when it is celebratory and passionate. Football is the most comfortable lane for McAfee and his crew, but McAfee loves competition. He is at his best when he can interview a daaaaaawwwwwgggg or hype up a hard-fought sporting event.

So rather than focus on salaries or dunking or put on his businessman hat like many in his industry, McAfee finds his own way in. He treats women’s basketball like a sport, nothing less or more.

It helps that McAfee lives in and loves a city that has a WNBA team, in Big Ten basketball country. But news flash: Most of sports media broadcasts from New York or Los Angeles, two WNBA markets. Not to mention that the WNBA season takes place during sports’ dry season during the late summer.

It’s not that hard to include WNBA point spreads in betting content or pull the best athletes and coaches in women’s basketball into a guest booking schedule. McAfee sees women’s basketball for what it is: high-level competition with impressive athletes and tons of fun storylines.

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.