Breaking Down Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Salary — and Why It Has Fans Outraged

Caitlin Clark 2024 WNBA Draft
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Caitlin Clark went No. 1 in the WNBA draft, but her starting salary isn’t as much as fans thought it should be.

The University of Iowa superstar, 22, was selected by the Indiana Fever as the No. 1 overall pick of the draft on Monday, April 15. According to Sportrac, Clark is expected to sign a four-year contract worth $338,056. In her rookie year with the Fever, Clark is slated to earn $76,535, which is the standard wage for the top four picks in a draft class.

Each year, Clark’s salary will increase as she is projected to earn $78,066 in 2025, $85,873 in 2026 and $97,582 in 2027. Her final year also includes an option which means that the Fever can decide whether to keep Clark on their roster or she could become a free agent.

After details of Clark’s salary were revealed, many called out that the WNBA’s wages nowhere near match what the men in the NBA receive. Currently, the starting pay for an NBA rookie is $1,119,563. Last year’s No. 1 pick in the men’s draft, Victor Wembanyama, signed a four-year $55 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs. The 2024 NBA draft has not happened yet, but Alexandre Sarr, Zaccharie Risacher, Bronny James and more are expected to be selected.

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NFL quarterback Russell Wilson voiced his support for Clark and more underpaid women athletes.

“These ladies deserve so much more …” he wrote via X on Monday alongside a post sharing Clark’s estimated salary details. “Praying for the day 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾.”

Today host Hoda Kotb weighed in that the current face of women’s basketball should be making more money than she was offered.

“When I saw the number, $76,000 in the first year and $78,000 in the second year, and $85,000 in the third year, for somebody who is now the face of women’s basketball, it seemed kind of ridiculous,” she said on the Tuesday, April 16 episode of Today. “A guy who is in the NBA, first year, they can get $10 million.”

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However, with Clark’s talent and popularity in the sports world, she will most likely have additional income thanks to various sponsorships and deals. However, some critics say that doesn’t matter.

“Everyone saying don’t worry she gets endorsements are missing the point. The men get endorsements as well and get paid millions more,” one commenter shared via Instagram. “It’s absurd and there isn’t a brighter side to look at. Things need to change. Hopefully the league will get more views and all of these women will get paid more. Could you imagine the #1 NBA pick making less than $100k a year.”

Another added, “No one is talking about all the women who got picked after her. Imagine how insulting their salaries will be. This is just plain f–ked up when women’s sports are at peak viewership!”

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Clark became a nationwide phenomenon as she set records on and off the court during the women’s March Madness tournament. Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes ultimately lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks in the championship. Ahead of the tournament, Clark announced her plans to go pro.

“It is impossible to fully express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me during my time at Iowa,” Clark wrote via X in March. “My teammates, who made the last four years the best; my coaches, trainers, and staff who always let me be me; Hawkeye fans who fill [Carver-Hawkeye Arena] every night; and everyone who came out to support us across the country, especially the young kids.”