Caitlin Clark Goes No. 1 In WNBA Draft, Ensuring Lots Of Indiana Fever Games On National TV This Year

Caitlin Clark, who helped grow the popularity of women’s basketball with her record-breaking college career at the University of Iowa, was the most no-brainer pick of the WNBA Draft on Monday, going No. 1 to the Indiana Fever.

The league will waste no time putting Clark front and center: The regular season begins May 14 with a doubleheader on ESPN2 leading off with Indiana against Connecticut, the first of a full slate of Fever games slated for national broadcasts.

More from Deadline

Clark led Iowa to back-to-back NCAA women’s national championship games, most recently earlier this month when the Hawkeyes lost to undefeated South Carolina in the title game, a matchup that drew more viewers than the men’s finale for the first time ever and drew 18.7 million viewers.

Clark, who scored 30 in that game to end her career, scored an NCAA Division I record 3,951 points in her four years, breaking both the men’s and women’s marks. She also became the first women’s Division I player to record 3,000 points and 1,000 assists.

The 6-foot shooting guard now joined a team in the Fever that haven’t made the WNBA playoffs since 2016, but now have to back-to-back No. 1 picks in Clark and Aliyah Boston.

Last week, when the WNBA released its schedule for the 2024 season, it had 36 of 40 Indiana Fever games set for national broadcasts or on streaming platforms: Eight games across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 including May 14’s opener, eight on Ion and two on the CBS Television Network. Indiana will also be highlighted 13 times on NBA TV, four times on Prime Video, and once on CBS Sports Network.

Clark’s popularity has boosted her own profile as well, with commercials for State Farm peppering this year’s Women’s NCAA Tournament coverage. Most recently, she appeared on Saturday Night Live this past weekend (she was in New York for tonight’s draft, held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music), participating in a “Weekend Update” skit skewering co-anchor Michael Che for his jokes making fun of women’s sports.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.