2024 WNBA draft, headlined by No. 1 pick Caitlin Clark, shatters TV viewership record

Women's sports, particularly women's basketball, continues to grow. So do the viewership numbers.

A record 2.45 million viewers tuned in to the 2024 WNBA draft on ESPN to witness the Indiana Fever select Caitlin Clark with the first overall pick on Monday, demolishing the previous record. Clark was apart of the superb 2024 draft class that included No. 2 pick Cameron Brink (Los Angeles Sparks), No. 3 pick Kamilla Cardoso (Chicago Sky), No. 4 pick Rickea Jackson (Sparks) and No. 7 pick Angel Reese (Sky).

“This is generational class,” Jackson said. “Viewership is peaking. Women's basketball is on an uproar. Everybody is tuning in. … I'm grateful to be a part of this draft class. I feel like we're just trending in the right direction.”

According to ESPN, viewership of the 2024 WNBA Draft peaked at 3.09M.

Earlier this month, a record 18.7 million people tuned into the NCAA championship game to see Cardoso and the South Carolina Gamecocks defeat Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes in the most watched women's basketball game ever and the most watched basketball game period – men's or women's, pro or college – since 2019.

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Before the 2024 WNBA draft's historic numbers, the previous draft record was 600K viewers in 2004 when the Phoenix Mercury selected three-time UConn champion Diana Taurasi with the first overall pick. The 2023 WNBA draft, where former South Carolina star Aaliyah Boston we selected by the Fever first overall, drew in 512K viewers.

The 2024 draft also marked the WNBA's largest television audience in over two decades. In 2000, a Memorial Day game between the New York Liberty and the now-defunct Houston Comets averaged 2.74 million viewers on NBC, which aired the game ahead of the NBA conference finals.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2024 WNBA draft TV ratings: Viewership shatters record set in 2004