The WNBA: Thread II

AlNipper49

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Angel Reese is a draw. She got invited to the Met Gala. She's bringing eyes to the product.

However, there are a few things that I think deserved to be mentioned.

She's not in the same strata as Clark as a player. There are posts in here talking about how top 4 picks get cut all of the time...Reese was the 8th pick in the draft (and that's with teams knowing that she was a draw).

To @BaseballJones point I think there’s some jealousy on her part that Clark is getting all of these flowers because of her basketball skill and Reese really isn’t (and tbh she shouldn’t be)
If you'd want a better scientific experiment about the popularity factor, you could probably use Alayah Boston. Same team, different skill set, similar pedigree, similar age, similar star potential.
 

reggiecleveland

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Angel Reese is famous becasue she trash talked Caitlin Clark. Nobody knew show she was before that. It is silly and delusional to say that "one game' was what got fans interested. Caitlin Clark got fans interested, and Angle Reese used those eyeballs to make a name for herself. If Iowa lost the Semi she would be as unknown as others. At least Joe Frazier recognized he was famous becasue of Ali. I can understand her frustration and delusions of grandeur but what mass appeal does she have sans Clark? Exciting instagram putbacks? Like Rodman her game, without villainy, is boring. Angel better be praying Caitlin Clark pans out as a star becasue she ends up to be just Chris Mullin and not Larry Bird Angel will be as famous as Michael Cage or Larry Smith.

It is important for these women to maybe think this may not last. Megan Rapinoe was a big deal for few months. Arnold had bodybuilding on national TV for a while.
 
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OCST

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If you'd want a better scientific experiment about the popularity factor, you could probably use Alayah Boston. Same team, different skill set, similar pedigree, similar age, similar star potential.
….but wierdly unproductive this season, after RoY last season.
 

Marciano490

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Angel Reese is famous becasue she trash talked Caitlin Clark. Nobody knew show she was before that. It is silly and delusional to say that "one game' was what got fans interested. Caitlin Clark got fans interested, and Angle Reese used those eyeballs to make a name for herself. If Iowa lost the Semi she would be as unknown as others. At least Joe Louis recognized he was famous becasue of Ali. I can understand her frustration and delusions of grandeur but what mass appeal does she have sans Clark? Exciting instagram putbacks? Like Rodman her game, without villainy, is boring. Angel better be praying Caitlin Clark pans out as a star becasue she ends up to be just Chris Mullin and not Larry Bird Angel will be as famous as Michael Cage or Larry Smith.

It is important for these women to maybe think this may not last. Megan Rapinoe was a big deal for few months. Arnold had bodybuilding on national TV for a while.
Frazier?
 

DJnVa

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She is not wrong.
She is absolutely spot-on 100% correct.

I am a big fan of both Clark and Reese.
Yes, she is wrong. The bump is not due to Reese. Or, I guess to be a bit more fair---the bump is 95% Clark, 3% Reese because she beefed with Clark, and 2% other.



NBA TV had a Reese game--viewership was 101,000. Yes, it's NBA TV, but there's a reason that's the network it was on. Reese's last home game drew 8200. They averaged around 7300 last year. Sure, *they* are up a little, but she's not a draw nationally.

Indiana has already had more fans than all of last season.
 

OCST

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I dunno. I love Reese’s all around game. She is an excellent defender. It was posted upthread that Clark can't guard any position, I think Reese can guard all of them. She was the most visible player on a fairly high profile LSU team.

Obviously there is no comparing to Clark's mega-celebrity. But if Clark is the Beatles, Reese is, at least, the Dave Clark Five, or Gerry and the Pacemakers, or something.
 

Jimbodandy

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I dunno. I love Reese’s all around game. She is an excellent defender. It was posted upthread that Clark can't guard any position, I think Reese can guard all of them. She was the most visible player on a fairly high profile LSU team.
Agreed. Angel Reese was a dominant college player who won a national championship. She's has been pretty well-known for a while. She's doesn't have Clark's visibility, but who does.
 

Auger34

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I dunno. I love Reese’s all around game. She is an excellent defender. It was posted upthread that Clark can't guard any position, I think Reese can guard all of them. She was the most visible player on a fairly high profile LSU team.

Obviously there is no comparing to Clark's mega-celebrity. But if Clark is the Beatles, Reese is, at least, the Dave Clark Five, or Gerry and the Pacemakers, or something.
Isn't the issue that Reese clearly thinks she's the Beatles too? That's what I was getting at with the original quote and there were 4 posts after that talking about how right Reese was.
 

amh03

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Isn't the issue that Reese clearly thinks she's the Beatles too? That's what I was getting at with the original quote and there were 4 posts after that talking about how right Reese was.
No - her quote was that it's NOT just Clark...that she's contributed as have others.

You included part of the transcript in your post:
The reason why we're watching women's basketball is not just because of one person. It's because of me, too.' I want y'all to realize that."
"Like it's not just because of one person. A lot of us have done so much for this game...there are so many great players in this league that have deserved this for a really, really long time, and luckily, it's coming now."
You also put a line in there about her making a "nice attempted save at the end" - I don't hear it that way at all. She takes a breath where you put in a new line in that quote...it's not an afterthought...I think she truly believes that. And, c'mon - all of the attention is on Clark. You've got some crazy guy approaching the Sky bus when they arrive at their hotel looking for Carter after the Clark hit. I would think Clark would want the attention spread out.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Agreed. Angel Reese was a dominant college player who won a national championship. She's has been pretty well-known for a while. She's doesn't have Clark's visibility, but who does.
Isn’t that the point though where she is delusional? We aren’t talking about talent, or how WNBA fans view them. The context of the interview was about who is bringing new fans to watch the WNBA. There is only one answer and it’s not Reese.
 

amh03

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Isn’t that the point though where she is delusional? We aren’t talking about talent, or how WNBA fans view them. The context of the interview was about who is bringing new fans to watch the WNBA. There is only one answer and it’s not Reese.
I would disagree, but don't take just my word for it -

From Vox Article -
The WNBA’s success is due in part to a first-year class full of college sports phenoms like Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, and Cameron Brink who brought unprecedented attention to college women’s basketball during this year’s NCAA tournament and set new records for scoring and viewership during their undergraduate careers. When these athletes were recently drafted to the WNBA, their many fans followed them, boosting ticket and merchandise sales as well as TV ratings.
That's a good article, btw, which also goes into the rise in interest across other women's sports.

Credit is given to even more players, both rookies & veteran players (I've extracted a few that are listed - it's another good article that I'd encourage folks interested to read) in Andrea Harris-Walker's Bacon Magazine

Stars Leading the Charge

The WNBA's success is built on the collective impact of its talented athletes. Here are some of the standout players driving the league's popularity:

Angel Reese, drafted 7th overall by the Chicago Sky, averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in her final collegiate season, earning her the title of SEC Player of the Year and NCAA Tournament. Reese has gained significant popularity, recently hitting the Met Gala red carpet and winning games, linking with rappers like Lotto, GloRilla, and Megan Thee Stallion—the Bayou Barbie has become hip hops favorite athlete.

Kamilla Cardoso, the 3rd overall pick by the Chicago Sky, averaged 14.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game in her final season at South Carolina. She is a two-time NCAA champion and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Although Cardoso is currently out due to recent shoulder surgery, she is expected to return to the courts soon, and many fans are eagerly anticipating her playing alongside Angel Reese.

Cameron Brink, selected 2nd overall by the Los Angeles Sparks, has already demonstrated her remarkable versatility on the court. Having won the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award, she averaged 13.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game. Brink's ability to impact the game in multiple ways is reminiscent of a player like Kevin Durant, with her combination of scoring, rebounding, and defensive skills making her a significant asset to the Sparks.

Sabrina Ionescu, often referred to as the female John Stockton, is a magical player for the New York Liberty. Known for her versatility, she averages 17.0 points, 7.1 assists, and 6.7 rebounds per game. Additionally, she launched her own Nike shoe line, which has gained popularity among active NBA players who often wear her shoes during their games.

A'ja Wilson, the two-time WNBA MVP, continues to be a dominant force in the league. She is averaging 20.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game, leading the Las Vegas Aces to back-to-back championships. In recognition of her stellar performance and influence, Nike has announced her Cosmic Unity Signature shoe.

Arike Ogunbowale, the superstar guard for the Dallas Wing, has established herself as one of the WNBA's top scorers since her debut in 2019. In the 2024 season, she is averaging an impressive 28.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game. Ogunbowale's scoring ability has been a constant throughout her career, as she has never finished outside the top five in league scoring in her four seasons. She was drafted 5th overall by the Dallas Wings and has since earned multiple accolades, including being a two-time WNBA All-Star and the WNBA All-Star Game MVP in 2021.

Caitlin Clark, the number one draft pick by the Indiana Fever, signed a historic $28 million deal with Nike, which includes her own signature shoe. She has become a major driver of viewership and merchandise sales for the league. Known for her incredible range, Clark frequently shoots from the WNBA logo, giving fans some Steph Curry-style excitement with her deep three-pointers and impressive scoring ability.
Has Clark contributed hugely? Absolutely! But again, it's not just her drawing eyes to the league and Reese is right when she points that out.
 

johnmd20

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I would disagree, but don't take just my word for it -

From Vox Article -

That's a good article, btw, which also goes into the rise in interest across other women's sports.

Credit is given to even more players, both rookies & veteran players (I've extracted a few that are listed - it's another good article that I'd encourage folks interested to read) in Andrea Harris-Walker's Bacon Magazine



Has Clark contributed hugely? Absolutely! But again, it's not just her drawing eyes to the league and Reese is right when she points that out.
Ratings for the women's final four in 2022 were 1.2, 1.8, and 2.7 million for the final.

In 2023, ratings were 1.8, 3.0(Clark game), and 5.2 in the final.(Clark game)

In 2024, ratings were 3.7, 7.1(Clark game), and 9.3 in the final.(Clark game)

Games with Clark. 3.0, 5.2, 7.1, and 9.3.

Games without Clark were 1.2, 1.8, 1.8, 2.7, and 3.7.

It's Clark.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I would disagree, but don't take just my word for it -

From Vox Article -

That's a good article, btw, which also goes into the rise in interest across other women's sports.

Credit is given to even more players, both rookies & veteran players (I've extracted a few that are listed - it's another good article that I'd encourage folks interested to read) in Andrea Harris-Walker's Bacon Magazine



Has Clark contributed hugely? Absolutely! But again, it's not just her drawing eyes to the league and Reese is right when she points that out.
We can agree to disagree. The only name I hear any casual at the poker table or in the sportsbook ever mention is Clark….and she’s mentioned A LOT. I’ve not once heard another players name spoken, only Clark’s. Family members ask me about Clark bc they look for a reason to bring up basketball with me. They don’t bring up anyone else’s name. I’m around sports fans constantly and I’ve never once heard anyone say “Angel Reese.”
 

amh03

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Totally get it, @HomeRunBaker...your circle is not really paying attention to her, or from the sounds of it, some of the other players...hopefully, if they're fans, they'll start to, though.

My only point is that doesn't mean that no one else is paying attention to her (or others), nor does it mean that the only player drawing eyes to the WNBA or getting attention is Clark. Don't get me wrong - Clark is a one-of-a-kind player and deserves the accolades. I just don't understand why so many seem to want to exclude anyone/everyone else.

It really depends on who you're talking to...here's another perspective alluded to in one of the quotes I'd shared:

A month after being drafted with the seventh overall pick to the Chicago Sky, Angel Reese is living her best life. The WNBA rookie has become hip-hop’s favorite of the 2024 draft class, receiving support from Latto, who sat courtside for Reese’s debut game, Megan Thee Stallion, and GloRilla, joining the latter two on stage during the Chicago stop of their Hot Girl Summer Tour over this past weekend. This was, of course, after being featured in Latto’s “Put In Da Floor Again” video with Cardi B after her junior season at LSU.

The love for Reese among rappers was noted by fans on X (RIP, Twitter.com), who pointed out how she has generated much more buzz among that demographic than many of her peers in this much-hyped WNBA rookie class.
Angel Reese is Hip-Hop's Favorite WNBA Rookie

My point is it's not JUST Clark...hell, I'm not watching Clark...I'm watching the CT Sun and Chicago's Sky when I can. If they happen to play the Fever, great...but that's not my primary target. I've got tickets to the Sun/Sparks game at TD Garden and can't wait...I think Brink is alot of fun to watch too! Plus, the league really needs folks to watch more than just one player. What happens if she gets injured? Do they leave? Folks are doing a disservice to the league by focusing singularly on one person. Fortunately, I do think interest has been growing the last couple of years and with this particular rookie class, more will watch some of the players they were following from those college games.
 

johnmd20

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Totally get it, @HomeRunBaker...your circle is not really paying attention to her, or from the sounds of it, some of the other players...hopefully, if they're fans, they'll start to, though.

My only point is that doesn't mean that no one else is paying attention to her (or others), nor does it mean that the only player drawing eyes to the WNBA or getting attention is Clark. Don't get me wrong - Clark is a one-of-a-kind player and deserves the accolades. I just don't understand why so many seem to want to exclude anyone/everyone else.

It really depends on who you're talking to...here's another perspective alluded to in one of the quotes I'd shared:



Angel Reese is Hip-Hop's Favorite WNBA Rookie

My point is it's not JUST Clark...hell, I'm not watching Clark...I'm watching the CT Sun and Chicago's Sky when I can. If they happen to play the Fever, great...but that's not my primary target. I've got tickets to the Sun/Sparks game at TD Garden and can't wait...I think Brink is alot of fun to watch too! Plus, the league really needs folks to watch more than just one player. What happens if she gets injured? Do they leave? Folks are doing a disservice to the league by focusing singularly on one person. Fortunately, I do think interest has been growing the last couple of years and with this particular rookie class, more will watch some of the players they were following from those college games.
You didn't respond to my comments about the NCAA ratings which make it clear it's Clark so I'll go full present tense.

The top 4 rated 2024 WNBA games all involved Clark. All 4 of those games are the highest rated games in the WNBA in 16 years.

It's Clark.

You're a fan, you're interested in a lot of the WNBA. But the average person knows Clark and if they are watching at all, it's a game Clark is playing in. The numbers are pretty clear here.
 

Merkle's Boner

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Is it a WNBA thing that the announcers don’t really do play-by-play? It’s really frustrating that they aren’t just calling the game but instead talking about other issues while the play is going on.
 

riboflav

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The Fever have a center problem. Centers matter a lot in the W. Boston is good but she's not in the top 8? And probably will never be top 5 and it's hard to win in the W without a great center. She's undersized (6'5 listed but plays more like 6'2), slow, and can't shoot. Also, just the vast chasm between her and the other fives... Wilson, Griner, J Jones, Collier, Magbegor, Austin, Brink, Reese, et al I'd take any of them. Some of these can be more 4-ish players but you are who you guard in the W and that is who she guards. Also, I'd take B Jones from the Sun over her. The fit with Clark has been awkward but that can improve with time and practice.
 

reggiecleveland

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She's undersized (6'5 listed but plays more like 6'2), slow, and can't shoot.
That's the big problem. For all the talk oif her not being the focus with CC she is taking the same number of shots as last year but shooting 41% compared to 58% last year. This year she is missing a lot from close to the hoop. Her rebounds are down too. I didn't watch last year, but in a forward league with a lot of tough physical players she seems softer than the opposing bigs.
 

luckiestman

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I'm glad she didnt get picked for the Olympics. Her legs need rest.
Her not being selected is one of the dumber things to happen in recent memory. Whoever is selling apparel must be absolutely pissed. I’m shocked she didn’t make the team simply because of the money being left on the table
 

BigSoxFan

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Her not being selected is one of the dumber things to happen in recent memory. Whoever is selling apparel must be absolutely pissed. I’m shocked she didn’t make the team simply because of the money being left on the table
It does feel like a major missed opportunity for the sport even if everyone selected is qualified to be there.
 

Cellar-Door

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Yeah no... You can't ask people to play extra games as a favor then take the 11 best players and then someone who is maybe top 50 because you want to sell jerseys to people the other players despise
 

BigSoxFan

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Yeah no... You can't ask people to play extra games as a favor then take the 11 best players and then someone who is maybe top 50 because you want to sell jerseys to people the other players despise
This is silly. Sure you can. You can do whatever you want to grow the sport, if that’s the goal.

And there’s no way she is “maybe top 50” unless that was intentional hyperbole.

She could easily hold her own and may actually thrive on a team with more talent.
 

Cellar-Door

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This is silly. Sure you can. You can do whatever you want to grow the sport, if that’s the goal.

And there’s no way she is “maybe top 50” unless that was intentional hyperbole.

She could easily hold her own and may actually thrive on a team with more talent.
Do you really think having her sit on the end of the bench grows the game. As to top 50...i could dig through but it's probably close. She's talented, but there are a LOT of women in the league who are better right now

Edit-the WNBA has incentive to push Clark like crazy in the hope some of the new fans stick. And to negotiate new TV deals. USABasketball cares about winning medals and keeping the best male and female players happy... They don't have a TV deal to worry about. And Nike deal isn't going to be effected.
 
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BigSoxFan

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Do you really think having her sit on the end of the bench grows the game. As to top 50...i could dig through but it's probably close. She's talented, but there are a LOT of women in the league who are better right now
Yes, it’s clear that her presence brings more attention to a sport that already has more talent than probably ever before and needs the biggest spotlight it can get.
 

johnmd20

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Yeah no... You can't ask people to play extra games as a favor then take the 11 best players and then someone who is maybe top 50 because you want to sell jerseys to people the other players despise
I mean, you actually can.

They just chose not to.
 

The Social Chair

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Do you really think having her sit on the end of the bench grows the game. As to top 50...i could dig through but it's probably close. She's talented, but there are a LOT of women in the league who are better right now

Edit-the WNBA has incentive to push Clark like crazy in the hope some of the new fans stick. And to negotiate new TV deals. USABasketball cares about winning medals and keeping the best male and female players happy... They don't have a TV deal to worry about. And Nike deal isn't going to be effected.
Diana Taurasi top 12 player. Ok.

The men's team is hardly based on merit either.
 

OCST

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That's the big problem. For all the talk oif her not being the focus with CC she is taking the same number of shots as last year but shooting 41% compared to 58% last year. This year she is missing a lot from close to the hoop. Her rebounds are down too. I didn't watch last year, but in a forward league with a lot of tough physical players she seems softer than the opposing bigs.
I’ve seen several games. Her finishing is terrible. She consistently leaves layups and putbacks short. Does not attack the rim with malice- she’s timid. That’s a damning thing to say but it’s accurate.
 

HomeRunBaker

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You didn't respond to my comments about the NCAA ratings which make it clear it's Clark so I'll go full present tense.

The top 4 rated 2024 WNBA games all involved Clark. All 4 of those games are the highest rated games in the WNBA in 16 years.

It's Clark.

You're a fan, you're interested in a lot of the WNBA. But the average person knows Clark and if they are watching at all, it's a game Clark is playing in. The numbers are pretty clear here.
The Washington Mystics moved their Thurs & Fri game from their 4000 seat area to the 20,500 seat Capital One Center almost like it was in response to this thread. On Thurs they played Reese and the Sky to a generously announced crowd of 10,000. On Fri, they played Clark and the Fever….sold out the arena of over 20,000 and did so in 30 minutes. Clark is Bird/Magic, Reese is Sidney Moncrief.
 

riboflav

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The Washington Mystics moved their Thurs & Fri game from their 4000 seat area to the 20,500 seat Capital One Center almost like it was in response to this thread. On Thurs they played Reese and the Sky to a generously announced crowd of 10,000. On Fri, they played Clark and the Fever….sold out the arena of over 20,000 and did so in 30 minutes. Clark is Bird/Magic, Reese is Sidney Moncrief.
This. My wife, my son, and me bought three tickets off the secondary market to sit about 10 rows behind the Cs bench on March 17 at the Wizards. We did the same thing on Friday in the exact same section 12 rows up and paid 33% more. She is a train... I honestly don't know the right metaphor.
 

InstaFace

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Do you really think having her sit on the end of the bench grows the game. As to top 50...i could dig through but it's probably close. She's talented, but there are a LOT of women in the league who are better right now

Edit-the WNBA has incentive to push Clark like crazy in the hope some of the new fans stick. And to negotiate new TV deals. USABasketball cares about winning medals and keeping the best male and female players happy... They don't have a TV deal to worry about. And Nike deal isn't going to be effected.
End of the bench? This isn't the W, international ball is lopsided and not a deep sport, the USA's B team would win a medal. We haven't lost a women's Olympic game since the pseudo-Soviets beat us in the 1992 semifinal, pre-WNBA. There are a LOT of lousy teams against whom Clark could easily play half the game or more. Against Australia, France and Russia, sure, you play your best (though really, only Australia should end up within 20 of us). Before then? All the world's a stage.

Guard depth on the camp roster, roughly ranked by my highly subjective sense of what order they'd go when drafting teams on the playground:

  1. Sabrina Ionescu (2022: all-WNBA 2nd team, MVP-8th; 2023: all-WNBA 2nd team, MVP-11th; 2024 so far: looks very strong, though hasn't hit her 3s as well as last year)
  2. Chelsea Gray (2022: MVP-9th; 2023: MVP-7th, all-WNBA 2nd team; 2024 so far: injured, though apparently is about to return. But the fact she hasn't played in 2024 so far is a flashpoint for Clark stans.)
  3. Kelsey Plum (2022: all-WNBA 1st team, MVP-3rd; 2023: all-star; 2024 so far: not shooting well, value rate metrics way down)
  4. Jewell Loyd (Seattle's "gold mamba" was all-WNBA 1st team in 2021, all-star in 2022, all-WNBA 2nd team in 2023 and MVP-7th. Having a monster year by +/- so far.)
  5. Jackie Young (2022: all-star, Most Improved - 1st; 2023: all-WNBA 2nd team, MVP-9th; 2024 so far: scoring more, but missing more 3s. Has little midrange game.)
  6. Rhyne Howard (2022: all-star, ROY-1st; 2023: all-star; 2024 so far: scoring a bit down, steals / blocks / assists up, turnovers down, probably an all-star again)
  7. Ariel Atkins (all-defense 5 straight years from 2018-2022, but not since; very strong on-off each year, including this year's small sample so far)
  8. Diana Taurasi (age 42. last all-WNBA or MVP votes were in 2020, last all-star in 2021, still assists very well but can't shoot, value metrics approaching league-average)

The all-WNBA 1st team last year was all frontcourt players, so this roster is basically bringing every all-league guard. Keeping Plum, Gray and Young together - all teammates - is probably a bet on chemistry and knowledge of each other's instincts. Plum and Young played together on the 3x3 team for the Tokyo olympics; Atkins, Gray, Loyd and Taurasi were on the 5v5 team (along with Sue Bird).

Let's assume Gray shouldn't be available, and Taurasi doesn't really deserve it at this point except as a mascot. That's still 6 players you really can't argue Clark ahead of, except on marketing value. Who else might be in between Clark and a roster spot?

Kahleah Cooper, 2 years removed from MVP votes, can guard 1-4 and play several different ways
Kelsey Mitchell, Clark's teammate at Indy, who was an all-star last year
Courtney Vandersloot, two years of MVP votes and all-stars, though perhaps past her all-WNBA days
Allisha Gray, who got DPOY votes 2 years ago, all-star last year, shooting the lights out this year
Brittney Sykes, got a few DPOY votes last year and was 1st team all-defense, has no outside shooting but a tidy passer

So yeah, the list is pretty long, if we're going on merit. Maybe some of those would decline, or get hurt, or aren't a good fit for how we want to play. Clark is no stranger to the USA Basketball program. But she's probably a decent ways off from making the (senior) Olympic squad on sporting merit alone.
 

riboflav

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Good post, @InstaFace ! This is an aside bc you mentioned her. The Dream's staff have no idea who they have in Howard. If I could pick a player in the W that can do Tatum things it's her. She had a pass today almost from the right wing with one hand and whipped it by two defenders to the left wing to her teammate right in the shot pocket. Instead, they have her rarely playing point and initiating action. Often times, she receives the third pass in their offensive sets. Their scoring is below their standards and a big reason why is their misuse of her ability.
 

johnmd20

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The Washington Mystics moved their Thurs & Fri game from their 4000 seat area to the 20,500 seat Capital One Center almost like it was in response to this thread. On Thurs they played Reese and the Sky to a generously announced crowd of 10,000. On Fri, they played Clark and the Fever….sold out the arena of over 20,000 and did so in 30 minutes. Clark is Bird/Magic, Reese is Sidney Moncrief.
Interestingly, amh hasn't responded to either post detailing the ratings of games with Clark and without Clark.
 

BigSoxFan

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The Washington Mystics moved their Thurs & Fri game from their 4000 seat area to the 20,500 seat Capital One Center almost like it was in response to this thread. On Thurs they played Reese and the Sky to a generously announced crowd of 10,000. On Fri, they played Clark and the Fever….sold out the arena of over 20,000 and did so in 30 minutes. Clark is Bird/Magic, Reese is Sidney Moncrief.
My client bought a bunch of club seats for Friday’s Myatics game against the Fever. Each ticket was going for $150 / seat.
 

Devizier

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The men's team is hardly based on merit either.
None of the Olympic team sports are; they can’t be, because merit is just much harder to measure in a team sport than in an individual one.

But the value delta between Olympic and professional competition is much greater for men’s basketball than it is for women’s right now.
 

amh03

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Interestingly, amh hasn't responded to either post detailing the ratings of games with Clark and without Clark.
Ok…since you seem interested…first, it’s really great to see the ratings increases from 2022 thru the 2024 NCAA season. There has definitely been more interest in women’s basketball at the college level and across other women’s sports in general. I’m hopeful & looking forward to that continuing…Juju Watkins should draw a ton of eyes next year, for example. I also think that Clark, Reese, Cardoso, Brink, Edwards and the rest of this rookie group seem poised to help do that for the WNBA. Heck, no one has ever paid attention to the WNBA draft the way they did this year, nor has there been as much discussion/attention to who will make the Olympics rosters before.

And, as I have said before, Clark deserves a ton of credit for the new eyes on the game…a ton. I do find it hard to understand, though, why a few can’t (or won’t) find room to acknowledge that some of the increased viewership might be tied to other players.

So regarding the first batch of ratings (recent NCAA ratings) you shared - are you suggesting that no one was tuning in to see the South Carolina Gamecocks finish their undefeated season with a national championship? All of them were only tuning in to watch Clark? Similarly, no one was tuning in to see LSU in the matchup against Iowa in 2023? Everyone was watching because of Clark?

Again - Clark deserves credit for a huge number of new eyes on the game…but all? Singularly? If that’s folks’ opinions, cool. I happen to believe that South Carolina’s season (a team with all new starters running a perfect season under Dawn Staley and capping it off with the championship) had more than a little something to do with the viewership of that game. It was one of the most exciting sports stories in the last several years, in my opinion!

Now, to join you in the present tense regarding the numbers for more recent games…as you mentioned, the 4 most watched WNBA games have been Clark/Fever games. The May Fever games on tv had the following viewership numbers:

May 14 - Fever vs Sun/ESPN2 - 2.1 million
May 17 - Fever vs Liberty/ABC - 1.7 million
May 20 - Fever vs Sun/ESPN - 1.5 million
May 24 - Fever vs Sparks/ION - 724k
May 28 - Fever vs Sparks/CBS - 356k

The full article points out that all of these are records for WNBA viewership - either for the network airing it or for the time slot show…which is tremendous. But the article also mentions:

CBS carried N.Y. Liberty-Minnesota Lynx on Saturday afternoon, drawing 704,000 viewers -- a record for a WNBA game on CBS. The prior record was 694,000 last season for a Phoenix Mercury-Liberty match (June 18).
So, again…yes, huge credit to Clark, but Clark wasn’t playing in the May 25th game between the Liberty & Lynx.

A few posters have referenced “average” fans only knowing Clark and only coming to the game because of Clark. Will they become actual fans of the WNBA? If the Fever continue to lose or if Clark gets injured, will those “average“ fans depart? Some thoughts on that possibility:

Sabrina Merchant: Fans have never had to really watch Clark lose like this before, and my hunch is they won’t all stick around for it much longer. Clark’s WNBA debut smashed cable television records, with an average of 2.1 million viewers, but after two consecutive blowout losses, a similar audience didn’t turn up for Indiana’s third game against New York, even though that was on ABC, dropping to 1.71 million viewers. The Fever’s most recent national television game against Chicago, which featured matchups against 2023 and 2024 NCAA champions Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso, also came in at a lower viewership number. The appetite for Clark seems to be diminishing as the Fever struggle, even if the overall numbers are still breaking previous WNBA marks.
https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/5543729/2024/06/06/caitlin-clark-stats-rookie-year-results/

An “average person” who only knows Clark and has only watched a Clark game is not yet a fan of the WNBA. But hopefully, they’ll become one. And hopefully, fans of Reese, Brink, Cardoso and others, who have followed their favorite college player to the W will get to know Wilson, Taurasi, Griner, Ionesco, Jones, Stewart, Thomas and stick around.
 

johnmd20

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So regarding the first batch of ratings (recent NCAA ratings) you shared - are you suggesting that no one was tuning in to see the South Carolina Gamecocks finish their undefeated season with a national championship? All of them were only tuning in to watch Clark? Similarly, no one was tuning in to see LSU in the matchup against Iowa in 2023? Everyone was watching because of Clark?
Yes. Average fans were watching because of Clark.

South Carolina final four game did 3.7. Clark's game did 7.3. And the final was 9.1. So people were obviously watching for Clark.

In 23, LSU final four game did 1.8. Clark's did 3.0. Again, the increase in ratings are due to Clark. So average fans weren't watching LSU.

I am not looking to be a hardo on this. I am just looking at the numbers. They are irrefutable. People weren't watching because SC was undefeated or LSU was going for a title. They were watching Clark, who in both her final four games almost doubled the audience compared to the other game. And massively increased the audience in one year. My expectation is that the women's final in 2025 won't come close to the 9.1 it did this year because Clark won't be playing. We shall see, I guess.

Right or wrong, whatever your opinion of whether it should be this way, it is this way.
 

HomeRunBaker

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And, as I have said before, Clark deserves a ton of credit for the new eyes on the game…a ton. I do find it hard to understand, though, why a few can’t (or won’t) find room to acknowledge that some of the increased viewership might be tied to other players.
I'm referring solely to the WNBA, johnmd20 addressed the college differences between Clark and non-Clark games, and aside from the dramatic difference in attendance in Washington from a Reese game and a Clark game I'm looking at the one team that I somewhat follow in the Connecticut Sun as I used to take my Dad to the games when I lived up there. The Sun sold out their game against the Fever because well, the Fever sell out wherever they go....of course due to Clark (and nobody else). However, in the other 6 home games their average attendance is a shade over 6,000 which is in line with their average of the last 4 seasons despite the team offering free tickets to anyone with a second tier casino players card which they have done since inception to lure bodies to the arena.


A few posters have referenced “average” fans only knowing Clark and only coming to the game because of Clark. Will they become actual fans of the WNBA? If the Fever continue to lose or if Clark gets injured, will those “average“ fans depart? Some thoughts on that possibility:



https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/5543729/2024/06/06/caitlin-clark-stats-rookie-year-results/

An “average person” who only knows Clark and has only watched a Clark game is not yet a fan of the WNBA. But hopefully, they’ll become one. And hopefully, fans of Reese, Brink, Cardoso and others, who have followed their favorite college player to the W will get to know Wilson, Taurasi, Griner, Ionesco, Jones, Stewart, Thomas and stick around.
Yes, hopefully they will....but as myself and others have been saying that will be because of Caitlin Clark. We know what she is doing for WNBA attendance....she is bringing 9,000 paid fans to a Sun game as opposed to 6,000 of which 20-30% are complimentary tickets, she is turning a Mystics 4,000 sellout into over 20,000! Compare this to Reese who has impacted the Sky's attendance from an average of 7241 last season to 8364 this year, a nice 16% or so increase despite the opportunity for greater with a capacity of over 10,000. Would you agree that if Caitlin played in arenas such as the Capital One Center each night with capacity of over 20,000 that every game would be sold out? This is fair since the Washington game was sold out in 30 minutes! How can you compare a 15% increase with 500% for a Mystics game and who knows how much more if the venue allowed for it? So no Angel, people are not coming to see you just as people were running to the box office when Sidney Moncrief was drafted......they are lining up to see Caitlin Clark in 2024 just as they lined up to see Bird and Magic in 1979-80. I don't even understand how this is debatable at this point.
 

blueline

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Nov 23, 2012
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The Washington Mystics moved their Thurs & Fri game from their 4000 seat area to the 20,500 seat Capital One Center almost like it was in response to this thread. On Thurs they played Reese and the Sky to a generously announced crowd of 10,000. On Fri, they played Clark and the Fever….sold out the arena of over 20,000 and did so in 30 minutes. Clark is Bird/Magic, Reese is Sidney Moncrief.
I paid $50+fees for upper level seats behind the basket on Friday. It's been years since I've spent that much to watch the Wizards, and I think I've paid less for playoff tickets.

FWIW the Sky are back in DC next Friday playing at the ESA (4k venue) and the game is sold out with the cheapest resale tickets at $175. Yeah Clark is an unprecedented draw, but there's an incredible amount of interest in Angel Reese too.