Caitlin Clark Indiana Fever Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Three WNBA media partners drew record audiences over the weekend, and Caitlin Clark only played twice.

On Friday, Clark and the Indiana Fever’s win over the LA Sparks on Ion averaged 724,000 viewers, the most-watched game on the Scripps-owned network since it began airing WNBA games last season. For comparison’s sake, the previous week’s WNBA doubleheader on Ion drew 290,000 and 266,000 viewers.

On Saturday, NBA TV aired the Las Vegas Aces’ win over the Fever, drawing 333.000 viewers for the game. It’s NBA TV’s most-watched WNBA game ever. The network has aired WNBA games for more than two decades and has been Nielsen-rated since 2010, so there’s a much larger sample there.

Also on Saturday, CBS averaged 704,000 viewers for the Minnesota Lynx’s win over the New York Liberty. That edged out a Liberty-Phoenix Mercury game last season as the most-watched WNBA game ever on CBS. Back in 2019, CBS signed a deal with the WNBA that brought games to the CBS Sports Network (which is not Nielsen-rated). The latest WNBA/CBS pact, announced in April, brought eight games to the CBS broadcast network and 12 more to cable.

Two-plus weeks into the 2024 WNBA season, the league has been on fire. Clark’s debut on ESPN2 hit a two-decade viewership high, while a weekend doubleheader featuring Clark saw both games surpass a million viewers.

Like I said then, the strong numbers for Clark games are to be expected. Those aren’t a surprise for the league. But when games without Clark, like the second half of that doubleheader last weekend or the CBS game this past Saturday, start drawing huge numbers, that should be looked at as a hugely positive sign for the WNBA.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.