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Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Debut: Most-Watched Game on ESPN Networks

ESPN’s broadcast of the Connecticut Sun’s game against Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever achieved the highest viewership for a WNBA game on the network. The Sun’s 92-71 victory over the Fever, marking Clark’s WNBA debut on the league’s opening night on Tuesday, drew an average of 2.1 million viewers across ESPN2, ESPN+, and Disney+, with a peak of 2.3 million viewers between 7:45 p.m. and 7:59 p.m. This surpassed ESPN’s previous record of nearly 1.5 million viewers for a Phoenix Mercury-Connecticut Sun game on May 22, 2004, during Diana Taurasi’s rookie season.

The second game of the night, featuring Phoenix and the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces, averaged 464,000 viewers. Combined, the two games averaged 1.28 million viewers, representing a 192% increase over the league’s average viewership for ESPN broadcasts last year.

Clark, who set the NCAA all-time scoring record at Iowa last season, was a major draw. Her presence contributed to a record 18.9 million viewers tuning in to the national championship game, where her Hawkeyes lost to undefeated South Carolina. Clark’s entry into the WNBA has significantly boosted the league’s popularity. The WNBA draft saw record viewership, and three teams have already moved their games to larger venues to accommodate the increased demand for tickets to see her play.


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