2024 WNBA Draft Shatters Previous Viewership Record

The WNBA fandom is growing as collegiate stars enter the professional arena. According to The Athletic, the 2024 WNBA Draft experienced enormous growth in viewership from previous years, shattering the previous most-watched record.

The outlet reported the 2024 event averaged a record 2.446 million viewers, a 307 percent increase in viewership from last year, which averaged 572,000 viewers on ESPN. 2023’s draft stood as the second most-watched, up 42 percent from 2022.

The previous record was set two decades ago in 2004 when 601,000 viewers tuned in to watch University of Connecticut (UConn) star Diana Taurasi be drafted to the Phoenix Mercury as the first overall pick.

2024 WNBA Draft Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark, the star player at The University of Iowa and this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, is one reason for the explosive audience growth. According to CBS Sports, the current NCAA basketball scoring record holder’s senior year marked the first time in Iowa history that all women’s basketball home games were sold out.

“Obviously, the WNBA is excited to bring her in and market wherever she is going to end up and continue to push the game,” detailed New York Liberty point guard Sabrina Ionescu. “I think the more players that we continue to have, the better it is that we are going to be able to enter different marketplaces, and have different fan bases and continue to break records.”

2024 WNBA Draft Kamilla Cardoso

Clark is not alone in her star power, however. The talent and passion of players including Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso, Cameron Brink, and Rikea Jackson also have name recognition among sports fans.

The 2024 WNBA season is set to begin on May 14, with the WNBA television and streaming schedule featuring 12 WNBA teams, with a significant focus on the Indiana Fever, two-time defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces, New York Liberty, Dallas Wings, and Phoenix Mercury. Ahead of the draft, it was announced that 36 of 40 Indiana Fever Games are set to be featured by WNBA’s national broadcast and streaming partners, anticipating the arrival of Clark.

“With the energy and excitement already generated by what we anticipate will be a star-studded rookie class, and on the heels of a 2023 season that featured one of the greatest MVP races in WNBA history and our most-watched regular season in over two decades, the WNBA’s broadcast and streaming partners are offering a huge national platform that will showcase the league’s superstars, rising stars, rivalries and a newly reconfigured WNBA Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase,” detailed WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a statement.

2024 WNBA Draft Rickea Jackson

Overall, the television and streaming schedule for the 28th WNBA season features matchups across ESPN platforms as follows: 25 games, including nine on ABC, 14 on ESPN, and two on ESPN2. Additionally, eight games will air on CBS Television Network/Paramount+ 12 on CBS Sports Network, 43 on ION, 40 on NBA TV (40), and 21 on Prime Video.

Additionally, TNT Sports will broadcast weekend WNBA games in primetime during the regular season, as well as select games from the WNBA Playoffs, WNBA Finals, and the annual WNBA All-Star Game in Ireland and the UK.

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