Caitlin Clark vs. Diana Taurasi averages 1.93 million viewers, 4th most-watched WNBA game since 2001

Sunday’s matchup between Caitlin Clark and Diana Taurasi featured no shortage of storylines. The rookie went head-to-head against the veteran, who shared a moment before tip-off, as well.

Ultimately, it was Clark’s Indiana Fever who came out with the comeback victory over Taurasi’s Phoenix Mercury. The game also brought in even more historic viewership for the WNBA.

ESPN averaged 1.93 million viewers for the game, according to Sports Media Watch. That was good for the fourth most-watched WNBA game since 2001 and the fourth-highest viewership this season. Indiana played in all four of those games.

Clark put together an incredible performance at the Footprint Center despite battling a migraine, the team said afterward. She nearly became the first WNBA rookie to ever record a triple-double when she totaled 15 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists to help spark the Fever’s comeback en route to the 88-82 victory.

Taurasi also had a strong showing. She finished with 19 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in the effort. Afterward, the 20-year veteran had some high praise for Clark, whom she previously told “reality was coming.”

“I mean, it’s amazing. What Caitlin’s been able to do in her short career so far has just been nothing short of remarkable,” Taurasi said. “And the one thing that I really love about her is she really loves the game. You can tell she’s put the work in.

“Even throughout her short WNBA career it’s been a lot of pressure, a lot of things thrown at her. She keeps showing up and keeps getting better every single game, so her future is super bright. Being a veteran, being in this league for a long, long time, it’s pretty cool to see that and going into the future.”

Caitlin Clark continues to fuel WNBA viewership surge

As the calendar flips to June, the Fever continue to dominate WNBA viewership, per Sports Media Watch. The franchise has nine of the top 10 most-watched games of the year.

The headliner is the Fever’s loss to the Chicago Sky on June 23 at Wintrust Arena. That game averaged 2.30 million viewers as Angel Reese – the WNBA Rookie of the Month – and the Sky defeated Caitlin Clark and the Fever. It also passed the high-water mark set one week earlier when 2.25 million people tuned to CBS as Indiana got its second straight victory over Chicago.

Only one of the Top 10 most-watched WNBA games didn’t involve Indiana. It still followed a Fever game, though. The May 18 Las Vegas Aces vs. Los Angeles Sparks game averaged 1.34 million viewers after the Fever vs. New York Liberty matchup drew 1.71 million on ABC. The Aces vs. Sparks game ranks No. 8 on the WNBA’s most-watched games of the year.

Of course, it’s not just TV viewership skyrocketing with Clark, Reese and the rest of a decorated rookie class coming in. Ticket prices are surging.

The ticketing platform Logitix said the resale price of a WNBA ticket has grown up to $87.75 through the first half of the WNBA 2024 season – compared to $50.10 during the 2023 season. Clark has played a role in that growth, with Fever road game tickets averaging $160.09. However, non-Fever games are up to more than $61 per ticket.