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Caitlin Clark Is Going To Change The WNBA

Now that she is in the WNBA, Cam breaks down how Caitlin Clark will change the game both on and off the court.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 15: Caitlin Clark poses with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected first overall pick by the Indiana Fever during the 2024 WNBA Draft at Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 15, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Clark has captured the imagination of the sports world for the past two years and, in many ways, has changed the game of women’s basketball forever. Now that her college career is behind her, she embarks on what will undoubtedly be a fabulously successful and meaningful WNBA career.

I’m seeing more and more Tweets, Facebook posts, memes, etc., about the plight of women in the workplace and the inequities of the huge chasm in pay between NBA and WNBA players. The rookie structure for players in the WNBA is a four-year/$340K contract. Top NBA rookies will see over 100x that figure. The last NBA first-overall pick, Victor Wembanyama, signed a four-year/$55M deal with the Spurs.

Of course, sports is still a business. The NBA had revenues over $10 billion, with a B, last season, while the WNBA is coming off of their best season, posting a revenue of $200 million. The NBA has 30 teams, while the WNBA only has 12 (with a 13th team on the way in 2025). The WNBA is clearly still far behind in terms of size.

But it is clear that the WNBA is not just here to stay but on the rise. The league was created in 1996 and is heading for its 30-year anniversary in a couple of years. Now, due in large part to Clark, it will have the ability to grow to new heights.

For everyone decrying Clark’s paltry $340K rookie deal, remember that she was offered $5M to play a season in Ice Cube’s Big3 league and has signed a $10M deal with Nike.

There is no doubt in my mind that as a direct result of Clark’s appeal and abilities, she will singlehandedly grow the league, similar to how Larry Bird and Magic Johnson grew the NBA.

By the time she is finished the league will grow with more teams, and quickly. Fans want to see Clark, and they will want to see more teams, too. The league will have 13 teams in 2025, by 2030 I’d be shocked if the league didn’t add at least five more teams. The demand will be there.

Added teams will create more revenue and more interest. More interest means more eyeballs watching, which means more advertisers and a higher TV contract. By the time her second contract rolls around, Clark could be the WNBA’s first player to sign a deal worth a million dollars annually.

That is the impact she will have. And as they say, a rising tide raises all boats. Her effect will be seen across the league.  For every Caitlyn Clark fan out there, be satisfied that she is a pioneer and a trailblazer. After over a quarter century in relative obscurity, she has secured the WNBA’s solvency and popularity for the next 10-15 years … and forever. The way Larry Bird and Magic Johnson put the league on their backs, taking the NBA to places they never would have believed possible, so will Clark.

In the early 70’s, a hockey player named Bobby Orr created a whole generation of young hockey players in the Northeast … many of them ended up playing on the original 1980 Dream Team in the Olympics at Lake Placid.

Clark’s effect has young girls all over the country picking up a basketball. Is there any doubt that due to her popularity, some 10-year-old girl will be the “next” Caitlyn Clark, but even better?

Every sport goes through this, and the WNBA is still a relatively young league. Clark will be able to take pride that her accomplishments today will make some young girl a multi-millionaire in 20 years. Not that Clark herself isn’t already a multi-millionaire, it’s just not thanks to her WNBA contract … yet.