‘Clarkonomics’: WNBA teams see surge in ticket sales after Caitlin Clark declares for draft | basketball

Shortly after Caitlin Clark announced her plans to enter the WNBA Draft, the Indiana Fever ticket booths were noticeably busier.

“We have seen a lot of excitement online and on social media,” Pacers Sports and Entertainment said in a statement to the Associated Press. “The organization has also noted that the enthusiasm has led to an increase in ticket requests.”

The Fever wouldn’t reveal how many tickets they sold. Still, getting Iowa star Clark with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft would be a boost for the franchise, which averaged 4,067 fans at home games last season.

“It’s Clarkonomics,” said basketball analyst Deb Antonelli. “Her ability to move the meter and the excitement around her is incredible. It’s socially acceptable to watch Caitlin Clark play basketball.”

Antonelli worked for the Fever for 18 years and believes the only thing that resembled the excitement of Clark’s being named No. 1 was the team’s run to the WNBA title in 2012.

Clark has set numerous records as a senior for the Hawkeyes this season and is on the verge of becoming the highest-scoring player in NCAA men’s or women’s history. She has driven interest in women’s basketball to unprecedented levels with her strong three-point shots and ball-handling skills.

Caitlin Clark has set numerous records as a senior for Iowa this season and is on the verge of becoming the highest-scoring player in NCAA men’s or women’s history. Photo: Matthew Holst/Getty Images

The draft will take place on April 15 and the Fever indicated in a social media post that they plan to select her.

It wasn’t just in Indiana where fans were trying to get tickets. In Connecticut, nearly 800 tickets were sold in 24 hours for the Sun’s season-opening game against the Fever on May 14. This corresponds to the number of individual tickets for the game sold up to this point, excluding the team’s 2,500 season ticket holders.

“Typically, there are setbacks in our ticket sales for league rivals, reigning champions and, of course, when former Huskies come to town,” Jennifer Rizzotti, president of the Connecticut Sun, told the AP. “This may be the first time a non-UConn player has generated this level of interest among our fan base. We understand that there is great anticipation for Caitlin to be on the Indiana roster, and it is amazing to witness the excitement of the last 24 hours surrounding her first WNBA game here in Connecticut.”

Many WNBA teams don’t have individual game tickets on sale yet, but they can expect strong sales for Fever games. Clark and Iowa have sold out nearly every road game the last two seasons. Tickets to their home regular-season finale against No. 2 Ohio State on Sunday were among the most expensive in women’s college basketball history.

“I’ve never seen a player have that kind of impact on the road or in the ratings,” said ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo. “In the first year of the league, there was hype around Lisa (Leslie), Sheryl (Swoopes) and I with a lot of commercials, but there wasn’t the hype where people could see us play like there was with Caitlin. “

Las Vegas, which led the league in attendance last year and already had 8,000 season tickets, sold another 300 since Clark’s announcement.

ESPN has not yet announced its broadcast schedule and the network only showed one Indiana game last season. Expect that number to rise this year. Six networks have posted record viewership for Clark’s games in the last two years.

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