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WNBA set for massive 2024 start with Caitlin Clark’s sold-out debut, marquee games on Disney+, new apparel line

May 13th, 2024

The 2024 WNBA season is almost here, and the league may be poised for it’s biggest start ever. After an incredible offseason that included a record-breaking NCAA performance from Caitlin Clark and record-shattering viewership of the 2024 WNBA Draft, the upcoming season is the most anticipated in decades.

And that will be obvious when the season tips off on Tuesday night. Clark, who was taken No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever less than a month ago, will face off against the Connecticut Sun in front of a sellout crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena. Nearly 9,000 tickets have been sold, the first time the Sun have sold out a home opener since their first game in Connecticut, way back in 2003.

Clark’s popularity isn’t just benefitting the Fever. She prompted national (and international) interest in women’s basketball at the college and professional level. Her feats may have been the spark, but the fire wouldn’t have started without world-class talent as its fuel. Lighting the way are newcomers like Clark, Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso and Cameron Brink, veterans like Diana Taurasi, and mid-career dynamos like Breanna Stewart, Kelsey Plum and A’ja Wilson.

The growth of the WNBA over just this offseason has opened new doors for the league, and they lead just about everywhere imaginable.

May 3, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) laughs before the game against the Dallas Wings at College Park Center.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever will play in front of a sellout crowd when they play the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena on WNBA opening night. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

The four games being played to open the 2024 season on Tuesday will be available to watch in the normal places — ESPN2 and ESPN+ — but there’s a new option that reflects just how popular the league has become with younger viewers.

Two of the four games opening night games will be available to stream live on Disney+ in addition to their other locations. And Disney picked the two most anticipated matchups of the slate: Caitlin Clark’s Fever debut against the Connecticut Sun, and the defending champion Las Vegas Aces vs. the Phoenix Mercury.

The WNBA’s popularity has also led to a major and welcome change this season. For the first time ever, the WNBA will be starting full-time charter flights for each and every team. No longer will these world-class, phenomenally talented professional athletes be forced to take economy commercial flights to travel from city to city.

But the implementation isn’t going entirely smoothly. Some teams will still be flying commercial for their first few games, which is prompting questions about competitive advantage — which is how the WNBA used to argue against charter use.

The WNBA has never been more popular as a brand than it is right now, and the league is looking to capitalize on that while still practicing its core values. The league recently signed a deal with Dick’s Sporting Goods to produce a clothing line for girls.

“For us, it’s really important to create products specifically for girls because we’re trying to focus on keeping girls in sport,” Colie Edison, the WNBA’s Chief Growth Officer, told People Magazine. “The research shows us that girls drop out at a rate of two times faster than boys by the time we’re 14. So finding ways to keep girls in sport, to empower them, is really important to the WNBA.”

WNBA players are also the new faces (and bodies) of Skims shapewear. The Kim Kardashian-founded company was announced as the first official underwear sponsor of the NBA, WNBA and USA Basketball back in October, and Skims’ new ad campaign, featuring some of the most popular WNBA athletes, is a product of that partnership.

For details on how to watch Clark’s debut against the Sun, or any other WNBA game on opening night, click here for Yahoo Sports’ handy guide.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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