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2024 WNBA Draft

Source: Sarah Stier / Getty

One of the items Indiana Fever GM Lin Dunn was asked about earlier this week is if her newly drafted superstar Caitlin Clark would have the “Peyton Maning effect” on not only her franchise but the WNBA as a whole. It was a good question and worth some sports radio fodder the past couple days. But as we talked about it on The Wake Up Call on Tuesday, I realized that the better comparison is actually that of Tiger Woods and the PGA Tour. Manning, while being great, didn’t fundamentally change the economics of a league (but he did a city/state). Clark, on the other hand, has a chance to play savior and set a new tone for an entire league, much like Tiger did when busted on the scene in 1996. I think Clark could chance the financial situation and viewership in benefiting the entire WNBA.

So, where else are Caitlin and Tiger similar?

See below and as always let me know where I’m right/wrong…

The post Will Caitlin Clark have the “Tiger Woods” Effect? appeared first on 93.5 / 107.5 The Fan.

Will Caitlin Clark have the “Tiger Woods” Effect?  was originally published on

1. Contracts

Contracts Source:Getty

In golf it was the “Tiger Woods effect” that swept through the sport, sending purses through the roof for not only himself but every other player on the PGA Tour. More on that in a second.

But as for Caitlin Clark, could her stardom have a similar trickledown effect? Many were shocked this week when they found out Clark’s rookie deal is 4 years for $338,056. But could WNBA contracts grow given the combination of Clark’s continuing rise to stardom and the WNBA TV rights being up for bid after next season? It’s simple…more TV money = better contracts and amenities. Clark’s stardom will be a huge, if not biggest, part of these negotiations. 

As for Tiger Woods, remember the conversation back in 2007-2014 where purses went up 140% (according to DataGolf). In fact, in 1996 the average winner’s check for the PGA Tour was 406K. In 2003 it was 970K. In all, Tiger grew the purses about 90% over a 20-year period. 

2. Endorsements

Endorsements Source:Getty

Tiger’s first deal with Nike was for 40 million. His second deal was for 105 million, third up to 40 million annually, and his fourth deal with the apparel company was for well over 200 million. Before and affair his off the course issues, Tiger was on the cutting edge of endorsements with companies other than Nike, such as…Bridgestone, Monster, Upper Deck, Rolex, Tag Heuer, Gatorade, AT&T, Gillette, Titleist, American Express, EA Sports, and many more.

So how does this relate to Clark? As I type this on Thursday she’s inked a deal with Nike for 8 figures…The Athletic reporting north of 20 million per year. She’s also set to have her own shoe which I’m guessing will set all sorts of female basketball play records. Along with Nike, Clark has a deal with local insurance behemoth Gainbridge. This list will continue to grow daily, but as a reminder she had many companies support her NIL wise in college (I’d imagine they follow her pro)…Gatorade, State Farm, Upper Deck, Buick, XFinity, and more.

3. Playing Style

Playing Style Source:ESPN

Dial up Google and have fun finding how ridiculous the metrics were for Tiger when he arrived in 1996-1997. He was playing a completely different game that everyone else. For instance, early on his career Tiger was hitting the ball 20 mph faster than anyone else on tour. He was consistently out driving everyone while still hitting 70% of fairways.

In that same vein, what Clark is doing on the floor in the women’s game is far from the norm. Take a look at the graphic above and you’ll see why. It’s stuff close to the basket and then 3’s, and not just any three pointers, but rather ones shot from Muncie. She’ll be playing a different game than many in the league, even as a rookie.

4. Viewership

Viewership Source:Getty

The biggest area Clark’s stardom will be noticed is the WNBA TV product. Even locally, the Fever will go from single digit nationally televised games to at least 35. That’s a stunning number. If you remember, the title game involving Clark and South Carolina outdrew the men’s game with 18.9 million viewers. And just earlier this week the WNBA Draft averaged 2.4 million viewers. That’s 4x as much as last year. 

As for Tiger, viewership number spiked almost immediately. Former president of CBS Sports, Neil Pilson, estimated about a 35% spike in TV ratings when Tiger played. had a graphic in 2010 where in majors Tiger didn’t play the viewership went down by as much as 5 million.

As for helping the league, they have to be banking on her stardom elevating the league’s next TV deal. It’s set to expire at the end of the 2025 season and by then we should have pretty good data on exactly what the “Caitlin Clark Effect” will look like.