Caitlin Clark drives ‘spike’ in Fever, WNBA ticket interest

INDIANAPOLIS — Caitlin Clark is having a significant impact on the WNBA even before her arrival.

Clark, the transcendent Iowa star and presumptive first overall pick in Monday’s WNBA draft, is driving an uptick in interest and ticket prices to see the Indiana Fever, which holds the No. 1 overall selection.

The Fever, second-to-last in WNBA home attendance last season (averaging 4,067 fans), would only confirm a “spike” in ticket interest, declining to comment on specifics. But the team is responding to the surge of interest by taking the unprecedented step of pre-selling single-game tickets to two games per day over a 15-day stretch heading into Monday.

The presale tickets have been selling briskly. By Thursday afternoon, only a handful of seats outside the balcony level remained from the batch of tickets made available earlier in the day for games against the Seattle Storm and Dallas Wings. Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where the Fever and Indiana Pacers play home games, has a capacity of more than 18,000.

Meanwhile, ticket marketplace Vivid Seats reports the team’s regular-season opener — a May 14 road game against the Connecticut Sun — has seen a price increase of 91% since Clark declared for the draft. The Fever’s home opener, on May 16 against the New York Liberty, has seen a 50% price increase since Clark declared, Vivid Seats reported.

At ticket platform SeakGeek, the average Fever resale price for home games is currently $182 — a 136% increase from 2023. That kind of shift is typically only seen in the NBA, coming as the result of a player like LeBron James changing teams.

“This is definitely the most significant example I can think of on the women’s side,” said Chris Leyden, director of growth marketing at SeatGeek.

“Three things drive demand for tickets,” he added. “It’s one, how popular the team is overall … Two, it’s how good the team is. Winning teams always drive up demand. Three, to me, is the star player factor. And this just absolutely checks the box.”

The interest in Clark is not limited to Fever home games.

The Las Vegas Aces recently moved their July 2 game against Indiana from Michelob ULTRA Arena to the larger T-Mobile Arena as a direct result of heightened demand for tickets, according to a team spokesman. The team has played several games at T-Mobile Arena in the past, but those were the result of scheduling conflicts, the team said.

This change was different.

“The demand for the July 2 game against Indiana was particularly high, and the decision was made to move that game to T-Mobile Arena,” spokesman John Maxwell said.

Meanwhile, the Storm recently made a five-game ticket mini-plan available, with two of the five games featuring matchups with the Fever. Secondary market prices for road games featuring the Fever could likely exceed those for home games, Leyden said, because of the limited opportunities to see her play in those cities.

The interest in Clark has already had a significant impact on the Fever’s national visibility. The WNBA announced earlier this week that the team will have 36 of its 40 games this season shown by national broadcast or streaming partners. Eight of those games will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

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