Conservative News Daily

Caitlin Clark Silences WNBA Critics, Stars in Most Significant Game in 20+ Years

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark has greatly boosted the⁤ WNBA’s profile since her debut. Amidst dealing with ⁣racial remarks and aggressive plays ‍from opponents, Clark led the WNBA to its highest TV ratings in 23 years with 2.25 million viewers ‌watching her game against the Chicago Sky. This game represented a 225% increase in viewership from the previous year.⁢ Clark’s influence extends beyond ratings as she has played ⁤in five of the most-watched WNBA games since 2002. Her presence has‍ also‌ significantly enhanced league merchandise sales, social media engagement, and other digital interactions.

Despite Clark’s undeniable impact and popularity,⁢ criticism and​ resentments from some corners suggest racial and identity politics at ‍play, given her identity as a straight ⁢white woman in a majority black and gay league. This has led to debates ​on ⁤whether⁢ the league⁣ is fully ⁤leveraging her‍ stardom. Critics argue that​ failing to maximize ⁣Clark’s appeal might hinder the WNBA’s growth, reflecting broader tensions around identity and representation in sports.


Commentary

By Samantha Chang June 19, 2024 at 6:17am

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark continues to cement her marquee status despite being the target of race-hustling trash talk and flagrant fouls.

On Sunday, the rookie sensation helped the WNBA score its biggest TV audience in 23 years, as a whopping 2.25 million viewers tuned in to watch the Fever defeat the Chicago Sky, CBS Sports announced.

That’s a 225 percent increase in viewership from the same time last year.

CBS Sports delivers record viewership for Indiana Fever’s win over Chicago Sky on Sunday, with most-watched WNBA game in 23 years: pic.twitter.com/agYye8P6ps

— CBS Sports PR (@CBSSportsGang) June 18, 2024

“The Caitlin Clark-led Fever have now played in each of the five most-watched WNBA games since 2002, with two of those five matchups coming against Chicago,” Sports Media Watch reported.

The WNBA announced that in May, it had its highest-attended opening in 26 years and its most-watched season opener ever across all networks that aired its games.

The league also boasted that it had set records for merchandise sales, social media engagement, app downloads and league pass subscriptions — with triple-digit spikes across all categories.

More than half of all WNBA games last month were sellouts — an astonishing 156 percent increase from last year, the league said.

Do you like Caitlin Clark?

In short, Clark‘s WNBA debut has exponentially raised the profile of a heretofore sleepy sports league.

Indeed, the 22-year-old superstar has ignited such enthusiasm that countless new fans are buying tickets to WNBA games, purchasing merchandise, tuning in to games on TV and discussing women’s basketball across social media.

So it’s no surprise that Clark has become the target of bitter jealousy and malicious resentment.

Numerous X users agree that the NCAA scoring champion is responsible for the meteoric surge in public interest in her sport.

“The public hasn’t cared about the WNBA or women’s basketball as a whole for decades,” one person wrote. “Historically, Attendance numbers, TV ratings for both NCAA and WNBA show that.

“For the first time, women’s basketball has a player in Caitlin Clark that is must-see TV…”

In the simplest of terms. The public hasn’t cared about the WNBA or women’s basketball as a whole for decades. Historically, Attendance numbers, TV ratings for both NCAA and WNBA show that.

For the first time, women’s basketball has a player in Caitlin Clark that is must see TV.… pic.twitter.com/fZmvrsAwy2

— Al Smizzle (@AlZeidenfeld) June 8, 2024

“It’s not just about Caitlin Clark,” the haters said.

🏀 WNBA ticket sales are up 93% from this date last year.

🏀 WNBA television ratings are up 180% from this date last year.

🏀 WNBA Draft tv rating was up 400% from 2023. I wonder who went #1 🤔?

Oh, this too 👇🏽. Wake up! pic.twitter.com/yaKWOpqZ6O

— Marc Ryan (@MarcRyanOnAir) June 4, 2024

According to sports website OutKick, WNBA games featuring Clark averaged 1.099 million viewers as of June 5. Games without Clark drew an average of 414,000 viewers.

“By comparison, the WNBA drew an average of 301,000 viewers per game last season,” Outkick reported.

Viewership averages this season:

Games featuring Caitlin Clark: 1.099 million viewers.

Games not featuring Clark: 414,000.

Yet Angel Reese says she’s a bigger draw than Clark.https://t.co/HPy4g9quze

— OutKick (@Outkick) June 6, 2024

Clark is an undeniable rainmaker for the WNBA, so it’s disgraceful that her haters downplay her talent and smear her fans as racists.

Wall Street Journal opinion columnist Jason Riley said the WNBA is failing to leverage Clark’s incredible popularity — to its own detriment.

“There’s a lesson here for professional women’s basketball, yet the league seems to be in no danger of learning it anytime soon,” Riley wrote in a brilliant column on June 11.

“In terms of popularity, WNBA rookie Caitlin Clark is the Tiger Woods of her sport,” he said. “She left college as the NCAA’s all-time scoring leader for women and men.”

“When her University of Iowa Hawkeyes faced the South Carolina Gamecocks in the NCAA women’s championship game earlier this year, it drew a larger television audience than the men’s final for the first time in history,” Riley wrote.

“My 11-year-old daughter loves playing basketball, but she started watching women’s basketball only because of Caitlin Clark.”

He continued, “Yet somehow, Ms. Clark didn’t earn a spot on the 12-player team that will represent the U.S. at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris … The WNBA is desperate to expand its brand, but it won’t showcase the sport’s biggest star at an event that drew more than three billion viewers worldwide in 2020? This is self-sabotage.”

Attendance at non-Caitlin Clark WNBA games this past weekend:

7,638
4,015
9,878
7,035
3,265
10,207
7,024

Attendance at Caitlin Clark WNBA games this past weekend:

17,274
17,401 https://t.co/JyxdFe8FwQ

— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) June 3, 2024

Riley wondered if the league is deliberately not promoting Clark because “WNBA officials are queasy about having a straight white woman become the face of a league dominated by women who are black and gay.”

The fact that we have to tiptoe around these issues is so stupid. The WNBA is shooting itself in the foot by bending the knee to divisive race politics instead of promoting its sport and its few superstars.

Given this virtue-signaling self-immolation, the league shouldn’t come crying if it slips back into obscurity.


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Samantha Chang is a political commentator, lawyer and financial editor in NYC.

Samantha Chang is a politics writer, lawyer and financial editor based in NYC.



" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."

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