Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese Help Spur Massive Ratings Surge for 2024 WNBA Draft

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark pose for photos before the 2024 WNBA Draft
Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark pose for photos before the 2024 WNBA Draft / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With stars such as Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink and many more taking the stage on Monday night, plenty of basketball fans were paying close attention to the 2024 WNBA draft.

That much was reflected in the television ratings. Monday's draft in Brooklyn shattered previous viewership records on ESPN.

An average of 2.45 million viewers tuned into ESPN for Monday's draft, by far the most of any WNBA draft in history and an increase of 307% in viewership from last year. In 2023, the event drew 572,000 viewers, which was an increase of 42% over 2022. The previous viewership record was set in 2004, when an audience of 601,000 were watching as the Phoenix Mercury selected Diana Taurasi with the No. 1 pick out of UConn.

The increased interest in the draft comes on the heels of the women's NCAA tournament recording huge TV ratings of its own.

Viewership was way up throughout the tournament, and the championship game between Clark's Iowa Hawkeyes and South Carolina drew an audience of 18.9 million viewers. That was a 90% increase from the 2023 women's final—which set television rating records in its own right—and was even more than this year's men's final.

Despite the fact that it was a foregone conclusion that Clark would be selected with the No. 1 pick by the Indiana Fever, fans still tuned in order to witness the moment for themselves, another testament to the rapid growth women's basketball is currently experiencing.

Karl Rasmussen


Karl Rasmussen is a writer on Sports Illustrated’s Breaking & Trending News Team. A University of Oregon alum, his work has appeared on 12up and ClutchPoints. He’s a loyal Tottenham, Jets, Yankees and Ducks fan.