2024 WNBA draft shattered viewership records to become the most-viewed in history

The 2023 WNBA draft broke viewership records, but the 2024 WNBA draft shattered everything we knew and then some. The 2024 draft drew 2.45 million viewers on ESPN Monday night and peaked at 3.09 million. It was the most-viewed WNBA draft ever and the most-viewed WNBA event on ESPN platforms.

These sort of viewership numbers will come in handy when the WNBA negotiates a new media rights deal. The WNBA is bringing in a variety of viewing audiences and the draft was the most-viewed program of the night among people under 35.

The 2024 draft class has some star power in Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, the No. 1 overall pick, LSU’s Angel Reese, South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso and many other collegiate and international stars. Clark, Reese and Cardoso were all selected in the first round of the draft and saw big viewership for their games in college. They are used to their star power and know how to use it.

The WNBA players are on the verge of a potential opt out of the current CBA, which could lead to increased salaries and benefits for players. The WNBA’s recent Collective Bargaining Agreement started in 2020 and runs through 2027, but there is an option to opt out of the agreement earlier. WNBA and the Players Association each have the option, exercisable by providing written notice on or before Nov. 1, 2024, to terminate the CBA effective on Oct. 31, 2025, or, if later, on the day following the final playoff game of the 2025 season.

If the players were to exercise the option, the first things they would likely bargain for would be increased salaries and charter flights. After this season, things will be shaken up one way or another, either with the players opting out of the CBA, a new media rights deal that means increased revenue, or all of the above. The future is bright for the W and women’s basketball.

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire