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May 28, 2024

Caitlin Clark nearing endorsement deal with Nike: Sources

Caitlin Clark nearing endorsement deal with Nike: Sources

By Shams Charania, Mike Vorkunov and Ben Pickman

Indiana Fever rookie phenom Caitlin Clark — the No. 1 pick in Monday’s WNBA Draft — is nearing a lucrative, eight-figure endorsement deal with Nike, industry sources told The Athletic.

Clark is expected to receive a signature Nike shoe as well, those sources said. Under Armour and Adidas also made sizable offers to Clark, two industry sources said.

Clark’s previous deal with Nike ended after the conclusion of the recently finished college basketball season, which allowed her to hit the market at the peak of her popularity. Clark was a supernova at the University of Iowa, breaking records and bringing new fans to college basketball. The women’s NCAA Tournament set viewership records with every game in which Iowa played, culminating in 18.9 million viewers for the Hawkeyes’ national title game loss to South Carolina.

Interest in the WNBA Draft was at an all-time high, and it also set viewership records, with more than four times as many viewers for this year’s draft (2.4 million) compared to last year, blowing away the previous record for the most-watched WNBA draft, set in 2004.

Clark was expected to land one of the most lucrative sneaker deals in the WNBA as sponsors have flocked to her in recent months and showed their desire to be in the Caitlin Clark business. She already has endorsement deals with Gatorade, State Farm and Panini.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry — who launched Curry Brand as a signature, standalone venture with Under Armour — participated in the companies‘ meeting with Clark, industry sources said. Curry Brand signed Kings star De’Aaron Fox as its first NBA athlete late last year, and inked University of South Carolina guard MiLaysia Fulwiley to a multiyear NIL deal, making her the first college athlete to partner directly with the company.

The last week showed just how in-demand and mainstream Clark has become. She made a guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” Then, WNBA Draft ratings spiked. Fanatics said her jersey was the top seller for any draft pick on draft night in the company’s history. Ticket interest has also continued to surge.

At her post-draft news conference, Clark said turning pro hasn’t had a significant impact on how she is conducting any off-court business.

“If I’m being completely honest, I feel like it doesn’t change a ton from how I lived my life over the course of the last year,” she said. “Sponsorships stay the same. The people around me, agents and whatnot, have been able to help me and guide me through the course of the last year. I don’t know if I would be in this moment if it wasn’t for a lot of them.”

Required reading
Whirlwind draft week just the start for Caitlin Clark
Iowa’s legacy is more than just Caitlin Clark
(Photo: Ron Hoskins / NBAE via Getty Images)

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