2024 WNBA Draft Breaks Records, Sees a 374 Percent Increase in Viewership

The event, which aired on ESPN Monday night, drew in 2.5 million viewers, eager to watch Caitlin Clark be drafted No. 1 to the Indiana Fever.
Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark.
Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone watches women’s sports, and the WNBA draft viewership numbers prove it. The class of 2024 saw viral athletes like Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and Cameron Brink get selected in the first round. The trio, along with many others, are partially responsible for the recent heightened (and long overdue) interest in women’s sports.

This year’s WNBA draft was broadcast on Monday, April 15, and saw 2.5 million viewers on ESPN’s network, peaking at 3.09 million, resulting in a record-breaking broadcast.

The last time the record was broken was in 2004, with 601,000 viewers, and last year’s event drew 572,000 eyes. It was not only the most viewed WNBA draft ever, but also the most-viewed WNBA event on ESPN and the most-viewed program of the night for ages 35 and under.

Iowa University’s Clark landed with the Indiana Fever as the No. 1 pick, while Brink of Stanford University will play with the Los Angeles Sparks and University of Connecticut forward Aaliyah Edwards landed with the Washington Mystics. LSU star Reese and South Carolina center Kamilla Cardoso are both headed to the Chicago Sky as the season begins next month.

These incredible, well-deserved viewership numbers come just after the huge crowd that tuned in for the women’s NCAA March Madness final. Clark and the Hawkeyes lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks, when 18.7 million audience members watched the game, which became the most-viewed basketball game in the U.S. since 2019.

Clark, who made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live last weekend, holds the record for both men’s and women’s college basketball for most 3-pointers made in a season, and she is also the first women’s college basketball player to score more than 1,000 points in two separate NCAA seasons. The Iowa native has also secured the title of all-time most points scored by any college player in NCAA history, with 3,951 points.

The 22-year-old has been setting so many records that people are calling it the “Clark effect.” On Wednesday, her brand new Indiana Fever jersey became the highest-selling jersey ever for a draft pick, and most sizes sold out within just an hour of the official selection news. The WNBA’s top 10 most expensive regular season games this year are to watch Clark work her magic on the court.


Published
Ananya Panchal

ANANYA PANCHAL

Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.