Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark is the new Tiger Woods

caitlin clark raises her hands in celebration
Julia Hansen -- USA TODAY Sports

Caitlin Clark is the new Tiger Woods.

The story can honestly end there, as what is understood needs no further explanation. But come on, we all see it. We all know what is transpiring literally right in front of us.

Caitlin Clark is her. She’s the next big thing. She’s a generational talent and sports figure in the same realm of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and most relatedly — Tiger Woods.


Let’s get the proverbial elephant out of the room and say what we’re all thinking out loud. Caitlin Clark is a white woman that has dominated (on the collegiate level) and transcended a sport reserved primarily for black women.

Currently, the WNBA is comprised of over 70 percent black women compared to just 18 percent of white women.

Woods, a black male has dominated and transcended the sport of golf unlike anything we have ever seen. A sport that is approximately 70 percent white as well.

Now, let’s get into the numbers.

The “Caitlin Clark” effect essentially did the unthinkable the past two seasons in Women’s college basketball.

For starters, every Iowa away game was sold out. Translation: For arenas that would normally not sell out, they did when Clark showed up.

In February, ahead of a big-time Big Ten matchup between Ohio State, the get-in price skyrocketed to $491. The game sold out with a record 18,660 fans.

That’s insane.

The women’s March Madness tournament saw an even bigger boost due to Clark’s celebrity.

In the Final Four matchup between UConn and Iowa, ratings soared to a then-record 14.4 million viewers. For context, that’s higher than any game in the last four NBA Finals.

But wait, there’s more.

Not to be outdone, the women’s championship game between Iowa and South Carolina stomped the Final Four ratings with a whopping 18.7 million viewers. That’s higher than any game in the the past six NBA Finals as well as the men’s final (UConn versus Purdue) which peaked at 14.8 million viewers.

For deeper context, the women’s national championship viewership from 1996 t0 2022 (not including Clark) averaged 3.9 million viewers.

The Caitlin Clark effect.

Tiger woods golf swing at the masters with red shirt

Tiger Woods has consistently transcended golf since he arrived on the scene nearly 30 years ago. He still draws the largest crowds and ratings spike whenever he plays in a tournament. Photo by Adam Cairns — USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods consistently does the same thing for the PGA. A 2018 article from Sports Media Watch illustrates how Woods’ “impact on PGA Tour ratings is mathematical and predictable.”

Additionally, when it was announced Clark was declaring for the WNBA Draft (with the Indiana Fever drawing the number one overall pick), the WNBA announced the Fever would have 36 of its 40 games televised this season. That’s 35 more than last season.

And just when you would think a hint of momentum and fandom would diminish, it was announced last night that Clark’s Indiana Fever jersey sold out within an hour of its release in sizes XS to XXL.

Things like this are not normal. They are reserved for special people and individuals who were born to shoulder the burden of greatness. Michael Jordan took this on and relished the moment(s).

Woods knew coming into a predominantly white sport and dominating would cast him into a new stratosphere.

He too relished it and took it head on and dominated like no other.

Clark is merely at the beginning of her journey and has already risen to superstardom without dribbling a ball in the WNBA. All signs point towards her game translating from college to the pro level.

It’s just a matter of time before we see the off-court fame resonate to the impending on-court success.

Whenever the time comes, Clark will be ready to take it head on, and relish in the moment as well.

Brandon Williams is the founder of Ball Exclusives. He has worked with and covered multiple athletes from college football to professional basketball. He is also the author of The JBA League: A League of Our Own.

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