WNBA commish embracing wave of popularity with rise of Caitlin Clark

June 14, 2024
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Caitlin Clark’s emergence in the WNBA has sparked a ratings increase and a general increase in popularity in the women’s game.

Even with the conversation around whether Clark is getting a real “welcome to the league” moment from her colleagues, the WNBA does not appear to be shying away from any of the chatter.

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Cathy Engelbert talks to reporters

Cathy Engelbert talks to the media during the 2024 WNBA Draft on April 15, 2024 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York. (Melanie Fidler/NBAE via Getty Images)

“Look, apathy is the death of a brand,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told USA Today in a recent interview. “Nobody’s apathetic about the WNBA because we’ve brought in so many new fans into what we call the fan funnel this year. 

“And yeah, some are frustrated for sure. I get a lot of emails that I’ve never got in four years, but that’s because people care.”

A lot of the conversation since the beginning of June stemmed from Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Clark’s hip-check of Clark. 

The Indiana Fever rookie was also on the receiving end of a hard screen from the New York Liberty last month.

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Caitlin Clark passes the ball

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, passes the ball against the Washington Mystics at Capital One Arena on June 7, 2024 in Washington, D.C. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

However, Engelbert does not believe Clark is purposely being targeted, especially when she has scored 30 points in two separate games.

“Did anyone say she was targeted in that game? No, because everyone’s just looking for the outcome that they want. But it’s great fandom. It’s great discussion, and I think obviously we continue to look at or review games after the fact,” she added.

Caitlin Clark smiles

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, celebrates during the game against the Washington Mystics at Capital One Arena on June 7, 2024 in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)

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Clark and the Fever are back on the floor on Thursday night with a rematch against the Sky looming on Sunday.

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