Clark’s Fever continue to drive ratings, ad revenue, for WNBA

Clark’s Fever continue to drive ratings, ad revenue, for WNBA

In the Caitlin Clark era, WNBA audiences that would have once qualified as milestones have become routine.

Saturday’s Liberty-Fever WNBA regular season game averaged 1.87 million viewers on CBS, marking the fifth-largest WNBA audience in the past 23 years. Each of the top five have come this season and involved Clark and the Fever.

Indiana’s win, which peaked with 2.65 million in the 2:45 PM ET quarter-hour, was the 11th WNBA game this season with a seven-figure audience — the most in any season since 2002 (12). The WNBA entered this season having gone nearly 16 years without a single seven-figure audience. Clark and the Fever have played in 10 of the 11 games with a million viewers this season, and led into the lone exception — Sparks-Aces on May 18.

As should be no surprise, the Clark bonanza is translating into higher ad revenue for the networks. According to the advertising analytics company EDO, WNBA regular season games generated an estimated $12.4 million in television ad revenue through the end of June, up 36% from the same point last year ($9.1M) and nearly doubling the same point in 2022 ($6.6M).

The increase in ad revenue is relatively modest compared to the rise in advertising impressions, 2.2 billion through June — up 57 percent from the same point last year and up nearly 700 percent from just 278 million in 2022. By comparison, the full regular season of women’s college basketball generated $26 million in ad revenue off of 2.7 billion impressions.

Fever games account for just over a third of the ad revenue ($4.3M) and nearly half of the impressions (1.0B), no small feat given Indiana has played in just nine percent of the total number of national games thus far (17 of 53). (Excluding NBA TV, Indiana has played in just over a third of the games, 12 of 34.) EDO estimates that advertisements during Fever games generate more-than-double the level of engagement of those during other games, which the company measures by tracking behavior such as visits to advertisers websites and searches related to their products.

As for the non-Fever games, ION averaged 516,000 for regional action late Friday night, preceded by Dream-Wings at 414,000 — the network’s two most-watched games this season that did not involve or follow the Fever.

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