2024 WNBA Draft smashes record with 2.4 million viewers, a 307 percent increase over 2023

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2024 WNBA Draft smashes record with 2.4 million viewers, a 307 percent increase over 2023

You tuned in for Tuesday’s 2024 WNBA Draft.

Boy, did you ever.

Tuesday’s draft, featuring Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink and a ton of other star college basketball players, averaged a record 2.446 million viewers, a head-spinning 307 percent increase in viewership over last year.

The previous all-time viewership for a WNBA Draft came in 2004 for Diana Taurasi’s draft year. That drew 601,000 viewers. Last year averaged 572,000 viewers on ESPN, which was up 42 percent over 2022 and the most-watched WNBA Draft since 2004.

What traditionally drives big viewership numbers for the NBA and NFL drafts are well-known players from college (think Zion Williamson) and star skill position players (think Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa). This is the case even if the public has an idea of who will be picked first.

This WNBA Draft had an endless supply of players with name recognition and an obvious transcendent viewership draw in Clark. It has also never had this kind of momentum.



Is Caitlin Clark’s star power strong enough to spike WNBA fandom?

South Carolina’s 87-75 win over Iowa on April 7 averaged 18.9 million viewers, the most-viewed women’s college basketball game ever and the most-viewed college basketball game (men’s or women’s) on record for an ESPN platform. The audience was up 90 percent over the 2023 national championship (9.9 million for LSU’s win over Iowa) and 289 percent from 2022 (4.9 million viewers for South Carolina’s win over UConn). The game peaked at 24 million viewers on ABC and ESPN during the final 15 minutes.

The 2024 NCAA Women’s Final Four was the most-viewed on record, averaging 13.8 million viewers. Those numbers included 14.4 million viewers for Iowa-UConn (the second-most-watched women’s college game on record) and 7.2 million viewers for NC State and South Carolina. The tournament overall (57 games) across ESPN platforms averaged 2.2 million viewers, up 121 percent from 2023.

It was the most-watched women’s NCAA Tournament since ESPN acquired exclusive rights in 1996.

Required reading

(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)