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WNBA's Indiana Fever top last year's home attendance total after just 5 games this season

Thanks in part to rookie phenom Caitlin Clark, Fever attendance has already surpassed the 81,000 fans who showed up to all 20 of the team's home games last season.
Caitlin Clark Fans
Posted at 12:07 PM, Jun 05, 2024

On the heels of drafting arguably the biggest college sports superstar in recent history, the WNBA's Indiana Fever have already broken the team's total home attendance for all of 2023 — and it took just five games this season.

The Fever drew just over 81,000 fans to watch them play at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis over the course of 20 home games last season, according to data from Across the Timeline. It marked the second-lowest attendance in the entire WNBA and was one of the worst seasons for ticket sales in franchise history.

This season, Fever attendance has already surpassed 82,000 in the team's first five home games. And it's all thanks to one person: Caitlin Clark.

From breaking the all-time college basketball scoring record, to drawing the highest ratings for a WNBA game in ESPN history, there's no denying the indelible impact Clark has made on women's sports. And the momentum is tangible.

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark is guarded by Connecticut Sun forward Tiffany Mitchell.

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As a two-time national college player of the year, selling out arenas was something Clark grew accustomed to long before joining the WNBA. But since being drafted first overall by Indiana in this year's draft, the hype around women's basketball has grown exponentially.

"I'm just grateful for, you know, obviously the support, the excitement," Clark said of the increased popularity of the WNBA. "I think, you know, this is what the league and the players in this league have deserved for a really long time."

She's part of a star rookie class that includes big names like Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso and Cameron Brink — all who share credit in the unprecedented support for women's basketballas a whole.

"I don't necessarily think that we're anything special," Brink said earlier this year. "I think we're really good players, and I do think we're — if you look at other draft classes, we're a really strong class — but I think it's just been time, and the women before us."

This combination photo shows Chicago Sky's Angel Reese, left, and Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark.

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It's a meteoric rise that WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said is not just about interest, but money.

"I would've said three years ago maybe we weren't ready for this moment, but that's why we raised that capital," Engelbert said in an interview with ESPN. "We came off the pandemic year, which was tough for us because that was a pretty existential time for this league to either survive or go away, and we survived and now we're thriving."

Thanks to the increased attention and investment, Engelbert announced in May that the WNBA would commit $50 million to provide full-time charter flights to all teams over the next two seasons, ending a longstanding frowned-upon tradition of players flying commercial. She has also said she hopes to expand the league by four additional teams before the 2028 season.

This combination photo shows Caitlin Clark, left, and Angel Reese.

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Scripps Sports is — for a second season — broadcasting WNBA games every Friday night on ION. Tune in this Friday, June 7, to watch Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever take on Ariel Atkins and the Washington Mystics at 7:30 p.m. ET. Or catch the Seattle Storm vs. the two-time defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces later that night at 10 p.m. ET.

ION’s 14-week WNBA schedule is available to TV and streaming viewers nationwide and includes 40+ national, regional, or local games that will be broadcast through Sept. 13.

Click here to view the full upcoming WNBA on ION schedule.