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The Caitlinsanity Revolution Will Be Televised

caitlin clark
A growing pain has emerged: Women’s sports has gotten so popular, so fast, that some of the marketing efforts around it lack key infrastructure. Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images
John Ourand
April 29, 2024

About a year ago, I visited with several senior bankers and private equity executives, all of whom suggested that the women’s sports space was part of their investment thesis. Sure, Caitlin Clark was in the middle of her first run to the national championship game, and helped set the first of many TV ratings records. And, yes, U.S. women’s soccer had already become arguably the most beloved national squad since the Dream Team. 

But their comments foreshadowed even more capital, a rush of fresh deal flow, and financial potential. To wit: ESPN’s recently signed $800 million NCAA rights deal (which includes the women’s basketball tournament) already seems like a steal. NWSL franchise values have eclipsed $100 million in some markets. The WNBA Draft set viewership records. And Fox has carried women’s volleyball on its broadcast network.