WNBA Missing The Boat On How To Grow, Promote New Superstars | Angel Reese Livestream Draws Over 1M Views, But League’s Blinded By Hyperfocus On Caitlin Clark

The WNBA is still missing the boat.

I swear, it’s hard to be sympathetic to the league’s pleas for equal pay and facilities and travel accommodations, when it continues to show that marketing its players is just NOT a strong point. 

Sure, they are turning it up for Caitlin Clark, who has captivated the women’s basketball landscape with a huge push from big corporate. But that’s low-hanging fruit, and to suggest that she’s the only new star worth covering and shoving down the fans’ faces is also a recipe for disaster. 

WNBA sees a great opportunity to grow its game and revenue by riding Clark’s storybook rise. That’s cool. Women’s hoops have been front and center for the first time ever over the past year. These women surely deserve the recognition and the monetary gains that accompany it. 

Just don’t forget that there are other women who have just as big a fan base, such as Angel Reese, who also made her preseason debut with the Chicago Sky. Clark’s Indiana Fever debut against the Dallas Wings was free on the WNBA app.

Reese’s 3 million social media fans couldn’t find her game anywhere! And they weren’t happy about it. Reese, who is a face of Reebok and has brand deals with all sorts of companies, including Mercedes-Benz, was rocking the Reebok Solution shoe in her debut.

So many things going on that WNBA missed out on.

It makes no sense, because unless you’ve been living under a rock, Angel Reese is a large reason why anybody knows who Caitlin Clark is. Reese’s popularity introduced a lot of hoops fans who know LSU and have no clue about Iowa hoops to Clark through their much-publicized wars that media and corporate took and turned into millions and record ratings. 

Caitlin Clark Didn’t Do this On Her Own

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking Caitlin Clark did this on her own. It would be insane to think that she can carry the WNBA on her back by herself. Maybe new fans think that’s how the league works

The WNBA doesn’t want to be considered a subordinate league to the NBA, even though the NBA is its main operating and funding source. But when you don’t conduct your business correctly and then cry about being underfunded and ignored, it’s actually embarrassing to everything you’re building and makes it hard for your league to be taken seriously. 

Angel Reese Live Stream Gets Hundreds Of Thousands of Views

Angel Reese fans were in an uproar that they couldn’t see her first game. The WNBA should feel terrible that it not only lost revenue, but pissed off most of its new fan base who are only watching to see “Bayou Barbie,” aka “Chi-Town Barbie”, do her thing.  


Even more embarrassing is that livestreams of her debut were off the charts. 

X user @heyheyitsalli posted a pixelated, nearly two-hour long livestream of the entire May 3 Chicago Sky vs. Minnesota Lynx contest, shot from their iPhone. The video currently has 1.5 million views on X. The user posted a photo of the live stream’s viewer count and other metrics, captioning it, “‘y’all these are some of THE WILDEST numbers WOW”.

One streamer posted a photo of the statistics from their live Chicago Sky game stream. They recorded over 170,000 live views. 

Another streamer peaked at over 300,000 views for Reese’s debut.

Reese finished her first WNBA game playing 24 minutes and scoring 13 points, pulling nine rebounds, and one assist on just seven shots. Not spectacular, but it was her viewership totals from iPhone streamers that really tells the story of her worth. 

WNBA Not Identifying and Promoting Its Future Stars Correctly

There seems to be a typical fracture in perception going on between corporate, the WNBA, and the fans. Maybe it’s the same reason why only white players in a league 80 percent Black women, have signature shoe deals. 

Because if you ask a white person in middle America what women’s basketball player they like, it’s going to be Caitlin Clark because that’s what we’re told through the largest media machine in existence. 

If you ask a Black girl in Atlanta who she follows in the WNBA, she will say Angel Reese and she probably follows her on IG and watches her conduct her off-the-court activities, which is what really attracts her fans. She has a crazy personality, and she has her own style. AND she’s a beast in the post who knows how to play championship hoops. 

From her fashion (she was getting fly before they threw Prada and heels on Clark to make her look the part) to her flair to her raw Baltimore determination, Reese attracts people.

Despite being vilified and overlooked at times, she’s been nothing but be graceful, thankful and clear about her intentions in the league. There’s an entire generation of girls who look like her and relate to her. Just as many of them playing ball in some youth league, looking for a WNBA jersey to buy from someone that they can relate too.

That’s Reese.

The WNBA needs to wake up! Maximize your opportunities and don’t forget about the different demographics and cultural dynamics within their growing fan base. 

It’s a new day for the league, which requires a new way of thinking. If it believes it can sell new folks the old product or fail to give long standing fans their best efforts in this moment, then it has no one to blame but itself for whatever issues they have from salaries to endorsements. 

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