Apr 15, 2024 - News

How the WNBA draft could change everything

Source: Sports-Reference.com. Graphic: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Monday night is the moment the WNBA has been waiting for.

Why it matters: The WNBA draft arguably has the most attention in the league's 28-year history, and few teams stand to benefit as much as the Indiana Fever.

Driving the news: As the team with the No. 1 draft pick, the Fever are expected to select Iowa guard Caitlin Clark and bring the "Caitlin Clark effect" to Indianapolis.

State of play: The draft goes down at a moment when women's basketball has never been hotter and is littered with other superstar prospects like LSU's Angel Reese and Stanford's Cameron Brink.

By the numbers: A staggering 18.7 million people watched the NCAA title game — a record for a women's college hoops and a five-year high for any basketball broadcast.

  • The 2023 WNBA season was a record-setter in its own right, becoming the most-watched season in 21 years.
  • The WNBA also saw viewership increase by 21% and attendance increase by 16% year over year.

Zoom in: If the league can maintain its momentum and capitalize on the star power of its incoming class, it may be able to offer better salaries and keep players from needing to play overseas or moonlight as TV analysts during the NBA season.

Reality check: Women's college basketball has often been a bigger platform for stars than the WNBA, Axios' Tim Baysinger writes.

  • Plus, it's unclear how college stars like Clark and Reese will perform in the pros.

How to watch: The draft starts at 7:30pm at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, and you have several viewing options.

  • ESPN will broadcast the draft or you can stream it on ESPN+ or fuboTV.
  • Or, you can watch it on the scoreboard at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at the Indiana Fever's watch party.

The party starts at 5:30pm on Bicentennial Unity Plaza and the doors to Gainbridge open an hour later.

  • The pre-show starts at 7pm.

Here is the draft order for the first round:

1. Indiana Fever

2. Los Angeles Sparks

3. Chicago Sky

4. Los Angeles Sparks (via Seattle)

5. Dallas Wings (via Chicago)

6. Washington Mystics

7. Minnesota Lynx

8. Chicago Sky (via Atlanta)

9. Dallas Wings

10. Connecticut Sun

11. New York Liberty

12. Atlanta Dream (via Las Vegas)

The bottom line: The stage is set for this season to be a slam dunk for the Fever, and bring a new generation of fans to the WNBA — if the league and our home team can capitalize on the momentum.

What's next: Preseason games begin May 3.

  • The Fever's home opener is May 16.

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