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HomeSportsFox considered NIL package to entice Caitlin Clark to stay at Iowa

Fox considered NIL package to entice Caitlin Clark to stay at Iowa

Caitlin Clark is a bona fide ratings juggernaut in women’s college basketball, and the clever folks at Fox Sports had a preliminary idea to keep it that way for another year.
According to Puck’s John Ourand, Fox executives “contemplated reaching out to other networks to see if they could come up with an enticing NIL offer that would convince her to stay in the college ranks for one more season.”
However, Clark declared last week that she would enter the 2024 WNBA Draft — where she will likely go first overall to the Indiana Fever — and the plan never got off the ground or was even ever presented to her.
Caitlin Clark has been a one-woman ratings juggernaut this season and a report indicated that Fox executives dabbled with the idea of offering her an NIL deal. Julia Hansen / USA TODAY NETWORK
While the other networks are unnamed, it likely would have included NBC and CBS, which partner in the Big Ten TV package with Fox.
It should come as no surprise that Fox would have wished for another season with Clark at Iowa.
Her final regular-season game on Sunday versus Iowa State drew 3.4 million viewers, the biggest audience for a regular-season women’s college basketball game on any network since 1999, and the most-watched women’s college hoops game in the history of Fox Sports.
Sunday’s game beat the NBA on ABC in the ratings, as Warriors-Celtics drew 3.0 million viewers and 76ers-Mavericks averaged 1.7 million.
On broadcast TV this season (meaning Fox, CBS, NBC or ABC), Iowa games averaged 1.93 million viewers.
awkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) controls the ball during the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con
The NBA on ABC has averaged 2.47 million overall this season, and 1.65 million on Wednesday nights.
Last week, the Big Ten tweeted that Clark and Iowa have been involved in the most-watched women’s college basketball games ever on six different networks — ABC, Big Ten Network, Fox, FS1, NBC and Peacock.
Regarding the reported NIL deal, given that Clark’s WNBA salary would be about $80,000 in her rookie year, there could certainly have been an economic case in a vacuum that the networks could have made her an offer that would have been worth her while.

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