Caitlin Clark’s debut drew an ESPN record 2.1 million viewers in most-watched WNBA game since 2001

Caitlin Clark dropped 20 points in the Fever's 92-71 loss to the Sun on Tuesday night in Connecticut

Caitlin Clark may not have won in her WNBA debut, but she managed to set another viewership record on Tuesday night.

Clark’s debut with the Indiana Fever drew 2.1 million viewers on ESPN2 on Tuesday, which made it the most-watched WNBA game on either ESPN or ABC in history, the network announced. The game peaked at about 2.3 million viewers, and the doubleheader was up nearly 200% from last year's regular season average. The contest was also the most-watched WNBA game anywhere since 2001, according to Sports Media Watch.

By comparison, last year’s WNBA Finals — which was the most-watched WNBA Finals in two decades — averaged just shy of 730,000 viewers.

The attention is nothing new for Clark. While leading Iowa to a second straight national championship game earlier this spring, Clark and the Hawkeyes set three straight viewership records. Their loss to South Carolina in the national championship game drew 18.7 million viewers, and it peaked at about 24 million viewers — which made it the most-watched basketball game, men’s or women’s at any level, since 2019.

Caitlin Clark has set yet another viewership record just one game into her WNBA career.
Caitlin Clark has set yet another viewership record just one game into her WNBA career. (AP/Jessica Hill)

The WNBA Draft drew nearly 2.5 million viewers, too, which shattered its previous record of about 600,000 viewers from two decades ago.

The WNBA is clearly prepared for the increased viewership, too. The Fever will play 36 of their 40 regular season games on national television.

Caitlin Clark headshot
Caitlin Clark
5/14/2024 v. CON

Clark finished with a team-high 20 points in the Fever’s 92-71 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night, but she had 10 turnovers — which marked the most in a WNBA debut in league history. She shot 5-of-15 from the field and 4-of-11 from behind the arc.

Clark and the Fever will host the New York Liberty in their home opener on Thursday night. That game will be broadcast on Amazon Prime Video.