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Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark help WNBA break another ratings record


Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese did it again.

According to The New York Post’s Ryan Glasspiegel, the game between the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever on Sunday, June 23, averaged 2.30 million viewers on ESPN. That viewership number surpassed the 2.25 million viewers who tuned into the game between the two squads on CBS the prior Sunday.

Last week’s game was already the most-watched WNBA game in the last 23 years, and the fact that this game brought in even more viewers shows the continued progression of the women’s basketball league.

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How Clark vs Reese Part III compares in the big picture?

Outside of the two star rookies, this game wasn’t supposed to be the league’s most-watched contest in 23 years. The WNBA season is about to reach its midway point, and games in the middle of the season aren’t normally the ones fans are tuning into.

The Sky and the Fever are also two teams without much star power outside of Clark and Reese, and to a lesser extent, fellow rookie Kamilla Cardoso and last year’s No. 1 pick Aliyah Boston. The two franchises also aren’t lighting the world on fire as both are battling for the eighth and final slot in the WNBA playoffs.

But the viewership results are another arrow to point at how invested fans are in the rivalry between these two and how it translates to from the NCAA to the WNBA.

Related: WNBA champions break massive attendance record even without Caitlin Clark

There were other factors that could have also driven up the viewership for this game.

It was a close game, with the Sky nipping past the Fever, 88-87, behind Reese’s career-high 25 points along with 16 rebounds. The two teams also played on a Sunday without much competition from any major sport as the NBA season had wrapped up and the NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 was scheduled for Monday.

There were no tennis grand slams to compete against, and the PGA Tour had just concluded the US Open the week prior. The only other major event event happening on national television was the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on the LPGA Tour on NBC.

More Women’s Basketball:

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  • All sides of the WNBA’s Caitlin Clark jealousy narrative
  • Investigation into WNBA Champs just got more serious

That certainly shouldn’t take away from the success of the viewership of the third Sky-Fever game of the year, especially considering it aired on ESPN and not on one of the major television broadcast networks.

The only other WNBA event that has had more viewers so far this year was actually the WNBA Draft headlined by the two young stars. That slightly beat out this game as 2.4 million viewers tuned into the event on April 14.

The Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky play on more time this season as Reese and the Sky host Clark and the fever on August 30.

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