Sports

Caitlin Clark's WNBA debut helps ESPN set viewership record for league game on network

NEW YORK — (AP) — ESPN’s broadcast of the Connecticut Sun’s game against Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever had the highest viewership for a WNBA game on the network.

The Sun’s 92-71 win over the Fever in Clark’s WNBA debut on the league’s opening night on Tuesday drew an average of 2.1 million viewers on ESPN2, ESPN+ and Disney+, including a high of 2.3 million viewers between 7:45 p.m. and 7:59 p.m. That topped ESPN’s previous mark of nearly 1.5 million viewers for a Phoenix Mercury-Connecticut Sun game on May 22, 2004, in Diana Taurasi’s rookie season.

The second game between Phoenix and the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces averaged 464,000 viewers, with the two games averaging 1.28 million — a 192% increase over the league’s average last year for broadcasts on ESPN.

Clark set the NCAA all-time scoring record at Iowa last season and she was a big reason why a record 18.9 million viewers tuned in to the national championship game, which her Hawkeyes lost to unbeaten South Carolina. Clark's arrival to the WNBA has already been a big boost for the league. The WNBA draft had record viewership, and three teams have already moved their games to bigger arenas to keep up with the demand for tickets to watch her play.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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