Caitlin Clark Will Make $76,000 A Year At The WNBA: Journalist Asks 'Is This Even A Living Wage?'

Zinger Key Points
  • The Indiana Fever selected Iowa's Caitlin Clark with the first-overall pick in Monday's WNBA draft.
  • NBA supports WNBA with $15 million annually to promote women's basketball growth.

The Indiana Fever drafted Caitlin Clark with the first overall pick in the WNBA draft Monday night. Clark, the University of Iowa phenom who helped increase ticket prices, viewership and the overall attention of women's college basketball during her time at Iowa, earned millions of dollars through Name Image and Likeness deals.

Clark will earn just under $80,000 before taxes in her first year with her rookie WNBA contract. While she can also secure endorsement deals, many have questioned the fairness of her salary, with some critics calling it unfair.

For the draft, Clark collaborated with designer brand Prada, sporting their sunglasses, jewelry, and clothing. While the details of the endorsement are undisclosed, it's probable that Clark made a decent chunk of change from that deal alone. In addition to Prada, Clark has worked with brands like Nike Inc NKE, Gatorade, State Farm and more.

Read Also: Caitlin Clark’s $76K WNBA Salary Leaves Even President Biden Befuddled With Startling Gender Pay Gap: What Gives?

However, unless Clark can single-handedly boost WNBA viewership, it’s highly likely that she will compete in front of smaller audiences throughout her professional career. More than 20 million people tuned into the recent Iowa vs South Carolina NCAA Women's National Championship game. In comparison, less than one million people viewed last year's WNBA finals matchup between the Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty according to Sports Business Journal.

Still, Clark, the biggest star in women's basketball and arguably the most popular women's athlete in the country right now, is set to make a lot more money than her base salary of $76,000. But, just taking into account her salary, let's compare it to other average incomes straight out of college.

  • Caitlin Clark's WNBA rookie salary: $76,000
  • Computer sciences: $75,900 (via Indeed)
  • Engineering: $74,000 (via Indeed)
  • Business: $61,000 (via Indeed)
  • Agriculture & natural resources: $58,000 (via Indeed)
  • Communications: $56,000 (via Indeed)

Many commentators have criticized Clark's salary, with some calling it unfair. CBS News' Lisa Ling posted on Meta Platform's Instagram, calling it “bull****” and asking if it was enough to make ends meet.

"Steph Curry makes more per game than what Caitlin Clark is making for 4 years!" Ling wrote in her caption. "It's bull****! With the toll sports and travel take on women's bodies, is this even a living wage?"

It’s important to note that the NBA drives significantly more revenue than the WNBA, making NBA owners and teams more able and willing to pay its athletes millions of dollars. The NBA does pay $15 million a year to the WNBA to help promote the growth of the women's game and make sure that the league is able to stay afloat. 

Now Read: ‘Fundamentally Unfair:’ Tesla Board Chair Urges Shareholders To Vote Again On Elon Musk’s Voided Pay Package

Photo: Shutterstock

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