Like A Woman: Shooting Hoops & Scoring Views 

By Henley Worthen · May 01, 2024

If 2023 was the Year of Barbie, 2024 is the Year of Basketball Barbie. 

Female ballers are officially in a league of their own. When they’re not breaking world records on the court, they’re walking red carpets like A-list celebs, dripping in designer clothes. 

Women have played in the shadow of men’s sports leagues for many years. Those who defend the disparity in the gender pay gap often suggest it’s because women’s sports don’t have the viewership and marketing dollars to compete. But thanks to some remarkable female athletes who have become household names, all of that is changing. 

In April 2024, the Women’s College Basketball National Championship won more views than the Men’s Championship for the first time in history.  

Let’s look at some key players driving the newfound fandom and how their social presence correlates to revenue dollars for media publishers and marketers. 

The Caitlin Clark Mystique 

Caitlin Clark is the definition of a game changer. 

During her first year at Iowa University, Caitlin was a record-setting superstar, leading the country in points scored, total assists, and 3-pointers! 

What really put Clark on the map wasn’t that she was just breaking women’s records—she was beating the boys, too. In her sophomore year, Clark became the first Division One player in history to score a 30-point triple-double in back-to-back games, regardless of gender. 

In the NCAA tournament, her 191 points scored surpassed any player (man or woman) in the history of a single NCAA tournament run. While many considered her season the best of any player in NCAA history, she still had another season to play.

In Clark’s senior year, she stole records from players like Steph Curry and Pete Meravich for most three-pointers in a single season and the division one all-time scoring record… 

Some expect Clark to be the best women’s basketball player of all time, which has contributed to putting many more fans in the seats. Tubular data found that since April 2023, Caitlin Clark’s viewership has increased by 160% across social platforms.

 In 2023, the championship game between Iowa and LSU became the most-watched women’s championship game in college basketball history, with a reported 9.9 million viewers. Part of the allure of the game was the rivalry between Clark and leading LSU player Angel Reese.

The Angel Reese Effect

Reese is an LSU all-star who thrives on defense and has quickly climbed to basketball fame.

Her parents were professional players and her brother currently plays for the University of Maryland.

Aside from her exceptional work on the court, Reese excels at keeping up with fans on social media. She’s very active on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, sharing her life, relationship, and accomplishments.

From Q1 2023 to Q1 2024, TikTok viewership of Angel Reese grew by 24.6%. Her viewership peaked during March Madness 2023, when Reese’s team, LSU, won the national championship against Iowa. That month, she earned 255 million views on TikTok. 

Her most viewed video this year has garnered 7.2 million TikTok views. She posted it celebrating LSU’s entrance into the Elite 8. The video featured a viral TikTok sound to boost viewership even further!

While Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark are two of women’s basketball’s biggest names, other up-and-comers are driving major viewership on social media. 

Comeback Kid Paige Bueckers

With the senior class of Clark and Reese graduating to the WNBA, Paige Bueckers is slated to become the next face of women’s college basketball.

Bueckers began her climb to the top at UConn, where she earned the Best Female College Athlete ESPY award her first year. Throughout her college career, Bueckers underwent several surgeries on her legs, which resulted in her sitting out much of the time. 

When finally cleared to return to the court, she immediately took to breaking records and leading UConn to victory. She even earned the Big East Player of the Year title. However, when she rivaled Caitlin Clark in the final four against Iowa, Buecker’s team lost by a thin margin. 

While Bueckers could have gone to the WNBA (and was projected to be a top-three pick), she chose to stay at UConn for one more season. Due to injury, she has missed out on so much playing time. And if she does become the face of women’s college basketball in the 2024-2025 season, this will be a smart move. 

Before Bueckers was cleared to play again in April 2023, she earned 15.7 million views across platforms. But in April 2024, she earned 761.4 million views across platforms. For the record, that’s a 4,740% increase in viewership. 

Healthy Rivalry & Record Breaking Views

While Clark is a scoring queen, Reese is a defensive and rebounding leader. 


Clark and Reese’s rivalry came to a head when their teams, Iowa and LSU, competed for the national title in 2023. It was a showdown that audiences were chomping at the bit to see, and it became the most-watched women’s college basketball championship in history, with 9.9 million viewers.

That 2023 championship game won 105 views on TikTok over the following month.

Elite Eight 2024

On-court drama spiked viewership during the 2024 Elite Eight. As LSU pulled ahead of Iowa despite Clark’s best efforts, Angel Reese taunted Clark by pointing at her finger to signal the championship ring she would soon acquire. While Reese was served backlash after the game, Clark came to her defense.

“I don’t think Angel should be criticized at all. Women should be able to play with that emotion. No one wants to tune in and not see people be competitive and passionate about what they’re doing.” 

-Caitlin Clark

When Clark and Reese met on the court again during the Elite Eight in 2024, their TikTok viewership grew by 35% from the year prior.

Record Breaking Viewership

The Iowa-UConn Final Four game broke all 2023 viewership records on April 6th, 2024, earning 14.9 million views. That record was broken again when South Carolina and Iowa came head-to-head at the April 2024 National Women’s Championship, which peaked at 24 million viewers between ABC and ESPN. This was the first time in history that a women’s final drew a larger TV audience than the men’s! 

With all the views stacking up for women’s college basketball, brand deals have flooded in. 

Monetizing like a Boss

Leveraging Name Image Likeness 

While there are significant debates about the discrepancy in pay between men’s and women’s basketball in the NCAA, women have found a way around that. Just like Reese and Clark can compete against the men on the court, they also compete regarding brand endorsements. 

Clark has scored major brands like Nike, Gatorade, and Statefarm, estimated to be worth $3.4 million.

Clark’s partnership with Gatorade had 29.7 million views on TikTok in just 90 days. The video is 44 seconds long, allowing time to tell the short story of Clark’s athletic upbringing and rise to fame.

While Clark’s partnership with State Farm didn’t get as many views as the Gatorade ad, it did win a good bit of traffic organically. After being boosted briefly, the video gained traction on YouTube and earned 279k views in 90 days. Caitlin Clark x State Farm Earned YouTube Views


If Caitlin Clark can make it this big, you can too. Welcome to Team Gatorade, 22! ⚡️🏀

♬ original sound – Gatorade

Angel Reese landed on the NIL (Name image likeness) 100 list when her valuation skyrocketed to $1.7 million. In fact, she had the second-most NIL deals across all college sports, tied with UCLA quarterback Chase Griffin. She’s won endorsement deals with Reebok, Wingstop, PlayStation, and others. She loves to earn and enjoy her money. Reese has become somewhat of a fashion icon with designer handbags, jewelry, and luxury cars. 

In general, her sponsored content performs better when posted from her personal account than when posted from the brand account. For example, when she posted a short 14-second promotion for Turbo Tax, the TikTok video scored a whopping 10.5 million views.


Cleaning the glass is easy for me 🙌🏽just like how TurboTax makes it easy for you to do your taxes. @turbotax #MarchMadness #StudentAthleteTaxes #TurboTaxPartner  

♬ original sound – angel

The Future of Personal Brands & the WNBA

At the April 15th WNBA Draft, the Indiana Fever made Caitlin Clark the first overall pick.

Viewership for the WNBA Draft held its own, even next to the recent NFL Draft. Videos about the women’s basketball draft have earned 395 million views, roughly 58% of NFL viewership — which speaks volumes to just how far women’s sports have come 

WNBA Draft (orange) vs. NFL Draft (green)

While viewers were excited to see where their favorite players would be drafted, what was even more interesting was the fashion! Fashion is one of the best ways for public figures to establish their brand. While stars like Bueckers and Reese won’t be trading in their jerseys anytime soon, they are certainly leaning toward building their brand identities and becoming public figures beyond the court. 

Clark was the first player, man or woman, to be decked out in Prada for a draft pick. She even reported that Prada had approached her to create the moment. Angel Reese worked with Vogue fashion editor Naomi Elizée to style a Met Gala-worthy look. 

On TikTok, Bueckers stole the show in all-white, head-to-toe Louis Vuitton. Even though she was only at the drafts to support her fellow players, she turned heads and gave fans so much to look forward to.  

While Caitlin Clark’s starting salary at Indiana will be roughly $76k, she will surely be racking up millions if her Prada partnership is any indication. She is expected to sign an 8-year, $28 million deal with Nike.  Moreover, the Indiana Fever sold out most season tickets before the draft, another indication of the exposure and opportunities to come.

We’re looking forward to seeing how these players continue building their brands to elevate the game for women, and we look forward to the upcoming WNBA season to see more records broken on the court and on social media.

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