Caitlin Clark’s rematch with Angel Reese is the most expensive WNBA match in history

This Sunday’s match between the Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark and the Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese will be the third time the two WNBA rookie superstars have played this season. For Clark and Reese, this was actually the fourth game this year, if you count their meeting in the NCAA tournament, as Clark’s Iowa beat Reese’s LSU to advance to the Final Four in April.

But just because fans have seen the game play out before doesn’t mean there’s less need to see the next chapter of the competition.

In fact, Sunday’s game between the Fever and Sky was the most expensive WNBA game on record, according to TickPick. The online ticketing platform said Luck that the average purchase price for home matches is $271—more than three times higher than Sky’s average purchase price for home matches of $88.

Before Reese and Clark were drafted in April, the cheapest ticket sold for the game was $49, said Kyle Zorn, head of content strategy at TickPick. Now, the cheapest seats cost about five times as much.

“It’s crazy,” he said Luck. “I have never seen two players in one sport impact a league like this. Honestly, it’s very Lebron James-esque.”

‘Caitlin Clark Effect’

In 2024, “The Caitlin Clark Effect” has become a tangible economic sensation, affecting every team, league, franchise and network the 22-year-old point guard has ever touched. In April, the NCAA championship between the Iowa Hawkeyes and South Carolina Gamecocks attracted 19 million viewers, the highest viewership for a women’s college basketball game ever recorded and 5 million more than the championship men between UConn and Purdue the day before, according to Nielsen.

Shortly after being drafted overall by the Fever 1 in the WNBA draft, Clark reportedly signed. an 8-year contract worth $28 million with Nike, a deal that includes a future shoe deal and would be the largest apparel deal of any player in the league. At the same time, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would sell Clark Fever merchandise at all 724 locations, before she played a single professional match.

And when she started playing, the phenomenon continued.

In May, the WNBA had it The opening month had its highest attendance in 26 yearsand the most-watched single-season opener ever across all networks. The number of sold-out games in May was up 156% compared to 2023, and arena capacity across all WNBA arenas was nearly 95%.

But as captivating as Clark was this season, her star power garnered the most attention — and drove the highest prices — when facing off against Reese.

According to TickPick, the “admission” price—the cheapest ticket available—for this Sunday’s game is $249. That was 336% more expensive than the “entry” price of their most recent game in Indiana—$57. The last time Reese and Clark played each other, June 16, CNN reported that the meeting was the most-watched WNBA game on any network in 23 years, peaked at 3 million viewers, according to CBS.

Part of that is due to the market in which the game is being played, Zorn said. The previous two games were both in Indiana, a much cheaper market than Chicago.

“The WNBA’s bandwidth has increased significantly as a result of this. [draft] class, and these are the two biggest stars in this class, people with very deep histories,” he said. “This is the first time this season that Caitlin has been to Chicago and I think a lot of Chicago fans are rallying behind their team, and then everyone wants to see Caitlin as well.”

And they didn’t just beat previous WNBA records. The $271 purchase price for Sunday’s game was significantly higher than the average price for men’s sports franchises in Chicago. The average purchase price of the Chicago Bulls last season was only 117 USD, while for the Bears it was 201 USD.

Zorn said he expects demand for the WNBA to continue throughout the summer, as long as the stories surrounding the league’s young stars remain hot. It will be interesting to see what happens in September, he said, when the start of the WNBA playoffs coincides with the opening weeks of the NFL season.

“With sports, storylines obviously contribute,” Zorn said. “The more coverage it gets, the more people are interested in the sport… I think as long as there is a storyline and coverage, there will be demand. I don’t see things slowing down.”

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