Caitlin Clark Brings a “Whole New Ball Game” to WNBA: Why Brands are Racing to Stand in Her Spotlight

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She’s “jump-started a new era of basketball,” says one Gatorade exec. Her games have smashed viewership records. She was chosen as the number one pick in the WNBA draft, and she’s worked with more than a dozen advertising brands before ever graduating from college.

Caitlin Clark led her Iowa Hawkeyes women’s basketball team to the NCAA Division I national championship game two years in a row. And while she technically finished second, there’s no arguing that her professional athletic career is out front and moving full speed ahead.

Already Clark has appeared in ads or worked with brands like Gatorade, Nike, State Farm, Gainbridge, Xfinity, H&R Block, and Buick. And many more are eager to align themselves with her widespread appeal.

Where Clark goes, the numbers seem to follow. As soon as she declared for the WNBA draft, ticket prices for the Indiana Fever – who would have the first pick of the draft – immediately shot up. The Las Vegas team who will play the Fever this July moved the game to a venue with almost double the seating capacity. Broadcasters were scrambling for rights to the Fever games for the upcoming season. And the WNBA announced that 36 of the Fever’s 40 regular season games will air on national TV.

Brands who advertised during University of Iowa games this year saw “insane performance results,” said Elliot Rifkin, Associate Director of the media buying team at the TV ad agency, Tatari. Rifkin reported that the leads and visits generated by the ads were “astronomical.”

Gatorade’s “You Can Too” campaign with Clark at the end of 2023 quickly became the brand’s most viewed social content across platforms, according to Brandi Ray, Head of Consumer Engagement. When Gatorade dropped a limited edition water bottle and towel co-designed by Caitlin, Ray said it sold out in a day.

Clark signed a multiyear partnership with the financial services company, Gainbridge, in March. The video announcing their alliance immediately grabbed 112,000 views. That number climbed to 1.8 million within the month, leading chief strategy officer Minji Ro to quip that working with Caitlin Clark was “a different ballgame” for their firm.

Many are hoping Clark’s success will be a gamechanger to promote the sport of women’s basketball, much like Tiger Woods did for golf. Her multiyear deal signed in October with State Farm is the company’s first ever with a woman athlete. Ray noted that Clark’s “character and high standards of excellence on and off the court” make her a “perfect addition” to Gatorade’s publicity effort. “She’s proven to be a change agent…she’s jump-started a new era of basketball and she’s propelling women’s sports forward.” Read more about Clark’s game changing exploits here.

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