WNBA Draft drew nearly 2.5 million viewers in record-shattering broadcast

The WNBA Draft smashed its viewership record on Monday night.

The draft drew about 2.45 million viewers on ESPN on Monday, which made it by far the most-watched WNBA Draft of all time, the network announced on Tuesday night. The previous record was set back in 2004 when Diana Taurasi was first selected, but that draft drew just more than 600,000 viewers.

By comparison, last year’s draft averaged just 572,000 viewers. Until Monday, it was the only draft to draw more than 500,000 viewers over the past decade.

According to ESPN, 1.06 million of the 2.45 million viewers on Monday night were women — which is a 374% increase year over year. The draft peaked at just shy of 3.1 million viewers, and the WNBA Countdown pregame show was the most-watched version ever.

The high number shouldn’t be too surprising, considering how much attention women’s college basketball received this past season. Caitlin Clark and Iowa set three straight all-time viewership records to close out the NCAA tournament. The Hawkeyes’ loss to South Carolina in the national championship game drew 18.7 million viewers, which made it the most-watched women’s basketball game of all time and the most-watched basketball game of any kind since 2019.

Caitlin Clark and this year’s WNBA Draft class set yet another all-time viewership record on Monday night.
Caitlin Clark and this year’s WNBA Draft class set yet another all-time viewership record on Monday night. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images) (Sarah Stier via Getty Images)

Clark, who broke countless records this past season and drew more attention to the game than just about anyone else in recent history, was selected No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever on Monday night. Cameron Brink, Kamilla Cardoso, Rickea Jackson and Jacy Sheldon rounded out the top five. LSU star Angel Reese was selected by the Chicago Sky with the No. 7 pick. The draft class was undoubtedly one of the strongest the league has seen in years.

The WNBA season begins on May 14, and Clark and the Fever will have 36 of their 40 regular season games broadcast on national television. Last year’s WNBA Finals averaged 728,000 viewers, which made it the most-watched WNBA Finals in two decades, and the year as a whole was the most-watched regular season in 21 years.

Based on the way things are trending, expect more viewership records to be broken throughout the summer.