“Women’s Sports Rights Fees Have Been Undervalued” WNBA Hopes To Double Revenue To $120M On Back of New Celebrity Ballers Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese

The Caitlin Clark wave seems to only be gaining steam. With the Iowa Hawkeyes sharpshooter set to become the No. 1 overall pick in tonight’s WNBA Draft, the league is hoping to capitalize on the fame and hype that Clark has brought the women’s game over the last couple seasons.

Clark’s Steph Curry-like range (led nation in threes made per game), her ability to make teammates better (led nation in assists per game), and her scoring prowess (led nation in scoring) have put the dynamic hooper from West Des Moines, Iowa, on front street. 

The WNBA has hovered right around the $60 million per year revenue mark, and while that’s not bad for the league’s 12 teams, league commissioner Cathy Englebert is striving to double the bag.

WNBA Wants To Double Revenue From $60M To $120M With New 2026 TV Deal

In a recent interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Englebert, who’s done wonders just keeping the at-times cash-strapped league afloat let it be known that reaching the $120 million revenue threshold is the goal. She also didn’t hesitate to mention that they’re looking to take advantage of the Caitlin Clark hype that’s helped push women’s basketball to heights not seen. 

Let’s not ignore Angel Reese who is also an “it” girl as one of the pioneers in the recent explosion of women’s college basketball. Her tenacious, All-American play on the court, personality, NIL deals and social media presence has elevated her to one of the WNBA’s Top 5 most marketable brands. Teams would be foolish to allow her to fall out of the Top 5.

“We hope to at least double our rights fees,” Englebert said. “Women’s sports rights fees have been undervalued for too long, so we have this enormous opportunity at a time when … the media landscape is changing so much.”

WNBA could Separate from NBA, Get Separate Rights Deal

The WNBA under Englebert’s leadership is so confident with their standing right now reports are they could even make an unprecedented move and explore a separate rights deal from its big brother the NBA. 

This is a direct result of Clark arriving in the league this season after her stellar career at Iowa, where she single-handedly guided a pretty stagnant program to heights they’d only dreamed of previously. When Clark arrived in 2020, they’d been to just one Final Four, when she left they added two more trips to their program’s resume coming up short in back-to-back championship games. 

Despite the losses the women’s game won because of Clark both seasons. Both championship games set records with this past one having more viewers than the men’s game for the first time ever. 

WNBA Has Never Been In Better Negotiating Position

Thanks to years of shrewd business deals and a strong business plan to keep the league moving forward the league can in many ways write its own ticket. That’s due in large part to the many years of investments and of course, NBA support, but setting record numbers in the television markets and game attendance has really given the league a serious jolt.

With the TV deal ending just as women’s basketball takes off into orbit, the WNBA has to go for it to set the league of for the next 30 years.

The WNBA’s current TV deals with ESPN and Ion, conveniently are both set to expire in 2025, and the league has an opportunity to negotiate a larger deal based on the growing visibility of women’s college basketball and Clark’s projected effect on the league. 


The WNBA’s ESPN Deal highlights the 27th annual WNBA season with 25 national broadcasts of regular-season games across its family of networks, as well as coverage of the playoffs.


Ion Television Deal the NBA has, televises Friday night regular-season games, totaling 44 games over 15 weeks from May 26 to September 8. 

The contract aligns with the current TV rights deal through ESPN and also concludes in 2025. Specific terms and details were not disclosed, but WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert described it as a significant rights fee. 


And most recently, the WNBA ran it back with Prime Video, as the streaming service expands its venture into live programming, announcing a multi-year rights extension in which Prime Video will continue to be the exclusive national streaming partner of 21 WNBA games each season, including the Championship Game of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase. 

The women’s game, at least in the moment, has become a must-see and that was never more evident than this past season’s March Madness. Many analysts, broadcasters and fans didn’t hesitate to say the women’s tournament as a whole put the men’s to shame. 

Again, Clark’s popularity, swagger and overall ability to galvanize fans everywhere was the sticking point, but she wasn’t alone. There were plenty of other players who helped along the way, but none have the popularity of Clark who made her Saturday Night Live debut on Saturday. 

Exciting times for the future of the WNBA.

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