IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Caitlin Clark’s pro debut is most-watched WNBA game in ESPN history, network says

Clark’s first game as a pro scored 2.1 million viewers, making it the highest-rated WNBA game in the league’s history across the ESPN platforms.
/ Source: NBC News

More than 2 million people tuned in to see Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut Tuesday, making it the most-watched game in the league’s history across the ESPN platforms, the network said.

The game drew 2.1 million viewers across the network’s platforms and peaked at 2.3 million, ESPN said in a statement Wednesday.

The ratings topped the previously most-watched game across the network’s platforms, between the Phoenix Mercury and the Connecticut Sun on May 22, 2004, ESPN said.

Clark, the two-time national college player of the year, struggled for most of the game for the Indiana Fever, scoring 20 points but also committing 10 turnovers in Connecticut’s 92-71 victory.

Last month, more than 18 million people tuned in to watch Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes in an NCAA title matchup against South Carolina. South Carolina won the game, which drew more eyes than the men’s title game the previous day.

It was the first time the TV audience was bigger for the women’s final than the men’s, according to Nielsen.

Clark said Tuesday night’s game left plenty of room for improvement.

“Obviously too many turnovers — that’s not going to get the job done,” she said. “There’s a lot of things to learn from.”

She added: “I would have liked to have played a little better tonight.”

Clark’s first steps onto the professional hardwood in the away game split fans’ loyalties.

Clark, who is known as a lethal shooter, electrified fans by connecting on each of her four 3-pointers. But smothering defense by Connecticut forced her into double-digit turnovers, a game high.

Clark’s massive appeal led to a ratings boom during her collegiate games and elevated interest in the WNBA. Her celebrity rises with every endorsement. She has appeared on a State Farm commercial and is reportedly set to sign a big contract with Nike.

This story first appeared on