Solar coach credit ‘celebrity inflow’ of Caitlin Clark, different rookies for WNBA progress

Because the Connecticut Solar received able to face Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever for the third time this season, Solar head coach Stephanie White talked concerning the progress of the WNBA and the way Clark and the opposite rookies are main the cost. 

“The inflow of expertise and star energy from the school degree – Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink – all of those gamers … have engaged with these followers from a social media perspective,” White stated. “That simply carries over as a result of there’s an amazing following for all of those stars which might be coming into our league.” 

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Head Coach Stephanie White of the Connecticut Solar seems to be on through the sport in opposition to the New York Liberty through the 2024 Commissioner’s Cup on June 8, 2024 on the Mohegan Solar Area in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Chris Marion/NBAE by way of Getty Pictures)

Earlier Monday, the WNBA introduced that it had seen unprecedented progress over the primary month of the season, together with “its highest attended opening month in 26 years and its most-watched begin of season throughout every community ever: ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, ION and NBA TV.” 

The league additionally instantly promoted its “numerous viewers” progress within the second paragraph of the assertion. 

“Viewership grew 60% year-over-year amongst folks of colour, with the most-represented demographics in that class – Hispanic and Black followers – notching a 96% and 67% year-over-year progress in viewership, respectively,” the assertion reads. 

The necessity to break the viewers down by pores and skin colour within the second paragraph felt a bit gratuitous, however a part of that’s most likely as a result of it desires to counter the notion that Caitlin Clark is just bringing white views to arenas and to tv units. Why that issues, I am not solely certain. 

Caitlin Clark warms up for game vs Sun

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever takes a shot throughout warmups earlier than a sport in opposition to the Connecticut Solar on the Mohegan Solar Area on June 10, 2024 in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Brian Fluharty/Getty Pictures)

OutKick reached out to the WNBA for touch upon the choice to advertise racially numerous viewership over a few of its different highlights, and we’ll replace if and once we obtain a response. 

The league additionally credited the rookie class for its affect on progress, notably on social media. 

EX-IOWA COACH LISA BLUDER ‘WOULD LOVE TO HAVE SEEN’ CAITLIN CLARK AT OLYMPICS: ‘THE HARDEST TEAM TO MAKE’

“All through Tip-off Week, 4 of the 5 moments that drove probably the most engagement on social channels featured highlights of Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark, Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese, Los Angeles Sparks’ Cameron Brink or Las Vegas Aces’ Kate Martin,” the assertion learn. 

White additionally famous that the WNBA’s progress began, in her thoughts, when the nation was shutdown due to the restrictions set down by the federal government through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I felt the turning level [came when we were] within the bubble,” White stated. “You get a fan there for the primary time, after which they are going to maintain coming again. So, when there was nothing else to do however watch basketball… followers who may not have watched the WNBA earlier than watched for the primary time, and so they saved coming again.

Cameron Brink runs down the floor

Cameron Brink #22 of the Los Angeles Sparks reacts after scoring in opposition to the Dallas Wings within the second half of a WNBA basketball sport at Crypto.com Area in Los Angeles on Friday, June 7, 2024. (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-Information by way of Getty Pictures)

“They introduced their daughters and their sons, and so they received them concerned … and I believe it began to take off. After which you’ve gotten the inflow of, of those, these superstars, which might be coming into the league and it is simply persevering with this, this, this trajectory.” 

There is not any disputing that the league took an enormous step ahead this season and there is not any query that Caitlin Clark is the driving issue. However White is true, too, that the WNBA has seen progress over the previous few years. 

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Nevertheless, the expansion this season far exceeds something the league has seen earlier than. It isn’t laborious to determine why. 

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