WNBA: Draft
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The WNBA on Monday released figures indicating their opening month of the 2024 season saw attendance numbers not seen in nearly three decades.

The television ratings, meanwhile, have never been seen before.

An official press release by the league states they “finished May with its highest-attended opening month in 26 years and its most-watched start of season across each network ever.”

The stats show there is an appetite for women’s basketball perhaps unparalleled since the inception of the WNBA in 1996.

Roughly 400,000 fans attended games in May, representing arenas that were filled to 94% capacity – up 17% from last season. More than half of all WNBA games were sellouts according to the report — a 156% increase from last year.

As for television viewers, the league states that WNBA games are averaging 1.32 million viewers, nearly triple last season’s average of 462,000 viewers.

Who could have seen that coming just a few short years ago? Business, as they say, is booming for the ladies.

RELATED: Ratings Show Caitlin Clark Single-Handedly Driving Record WNBA Viewership: Report

Credit Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese Equally

The WNBA was very diplomatic in its report on attendance, rating numbers, social media engagement, and merchandise sales.

They cite Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese, and Los Angeles Sparks forward Cameron Brink as being drivers of the league’s newfound interest.

“Throughout Tip-off Week, four of the five moments that drove the most engagement on social channels featured highlights of Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark, Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese, Los Angeles Sparks’s Cameron Brink or Las Vegas Aces’ Kate Martin.” they report.

“WNBA merchandise sales are seeing a 236% increase year-over-year, with Clark, Reese and Brink ranking in the top five for jersey sales during the first week of the season.”

Clark’s jersey on draft night sold out and became the top-selling jersey ever for a draft pick. Reese’s jersey sold out a few days later.

RELATED: FS1 Host Joy Taylor Takes Fire After Claiming Angel Reese Made Caitlin Clark Relevant

A Deeper Dive Into WNBA Attendance And Rating Numbers

Further analysis shows that while the Reese-Clark rivalry is generating some level of interest, there appears to be a clear-cut hierarchy here.

The WNBA is quite clearly seeing a surge in television viewers and Caitlin Clark appears to be the primary driver behind those numbers.

Games featuring the Fever guard see 1.099 million television viewers on average. Those without her are averaging 414,000 viewers. In addition to the television ratings, Bounding Into Sports notes that Clark is dominating actual ticket sales for road games.

“From preseason through the end of May, the 2024 rookie class contributed meaningfully on the court and continued to drive fan engagement,” the WNBA said in a statement.

As Pat McAfee famously said, the people saying “This rookie class, this rookie class, this rookie class … Nah, just call it for what it is.”

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