Night Light | Clarkmania

The Caitlin Clark Effect

It’s hard not to talk about Caitlin Clark in this week’s Night Light, even LeBron James is tweeting about her. She just broke the record for most points scored by a Division I college player, passing “Pistol Pete” Maravich, who scored 3,667 points in his three seasons at LSU. There’s a reason she’s considered a generational talent, and one of the greatest college basketball players of all time.

Yep, she’s breaking my ankles.

I’m willing to bet that this doesn’t happen again for a long time (more on this later).


For the first time in its 31 years, the entire Big 10 Women’s Basketball Tournament sold out. It’s not just the tournament though, Iowa has been selling out their stadium all season, with fans lining up an hour or more before games.


It’s also been extremely profitable for the Iowa athletics program. This year the program brought in $4 million, doubling their revenue compared to the previous season. Recently, tickets have been going for $400-$1,000. Viewership numbers on TV have been huge too, the Nebraska-Iowa game had 1.7M tune in, becoming the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever on Fox Sports.

How much is Caitlin already making?

In 2021 college athletes were allowed to monetize their name, image and likeness (NIL). After breaking the all-time record for points scored, it's estimated that Caitlin could be making $3 million in combined deals. She’s also sold more jerseys than any other individual men’s or women’s NIL-era college athlete across all sports since 2022. I’d bet she brings more money (and viewership) to the WNBA in her rookie season. After announcing that she’d enter the draft, ticket sales to the Sun’s opener against the Fever doubled.

It’s going to be interesting to see what Clark can bring to the league.

An interesting conversation that I’ve been seeing lately is that Caitlin would only be getting $80K from her rookie contract with a professional team. Sure she’ll see a percentage of jersey sales, but the majority of her income is going to be coming from her NIL deals:

- Nike
- Gatorade
- Bose
- State Farm
- Buick
- Hy-Vee
- H&R Block
- Topps
- Shoot-A-Way
- Goldman Sachs

Caitlin’s record will be hard to beat.

The best players go one and done. It’s especially true about men’s sports, they play one year at Duke or Kentucky, and then they’re gone. The risk of injury is too high, and the money is too good to pass on. Back in the day when Pete Maravich played the average salary of an NBA player was $35K (about $230K today). Now players today sign multi-year contracts more than 50 million dollars. I don’t think this record will be broken anytime soon.

The Big Takeaway:

Clarkmania is real. She’s breaking records, selling out stadiums, and creating immense hype for the WNBA. Caitlin has been a huge inspiration for young athletes all across America; I'm definitely going to order a jersey.

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