In the world of sports, certain individuals stand out as game-changers: Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Muhammad Ali, Conor McGregor, Serena Williams, and others. Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark, at just 22, has become the biggest name in women's basketball due to her skills, charisma, arena presence, and unbelievable shots. But is it reasonable to compare her to these legendary trendsetters? Colin Cowherd thinks so.

Cowherd recently discussed Caitlin Clark's impact on the WNBA's visibility, crediting her with playing a huge role in revitalizing the league's business prospects.

Caitlin Clark saved the WNBA

He emphasized this on The Colin Cowherd Podcast, stating, “Caitlin to some degree financially saved the WNBA.”

“It is an incredibly harsh truth. This league was in some trouble. They weren't making money, they were downsizing and arenas nobody's watching the finals. And, it has been totally subsidized. Not sort of, kind of remotely. Totally subsidized by the NBA,” Cowherd added.

“Caitlin Clark is clearly a catalyst for a business. Let’s be honest, Caitlin to some degree, saved the WNBA. It was hemorrhaging money for years,” he continued.

Cowherd's acknowledgment carries significant weight given his experience in sports media. He recognized the WNBA's historical challenges, and while still a relatively young league, he believes Clark's impact could help address some of those enduring issues.

Before entering the WNBA, fans flocked to NCAA games featuring Caitlin Clark, creating large crowds regardless of her opponents like Angel Reese or Paige Bueckers. Her remarkable performances, including half-court Logo-3s, became a sensation.

The gravity of the Indiana Fever rookie

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts after a foul Wednesday, June 19, 2024, during the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Indiana Fever defeated the Washington Mystics, 88 - 81.
Brett Phelps/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Following April 15, 2024, she became the first and only rookie to sell out her jerseys within a day of being drafted. Games featuring the Clark have led to six networks breaking their WNBA viewership records, as reported by Front Office Sports.

Clark is consistently selling out arenas wherever she plays, prompting teams to relocate to larger venues to meet the high demand.

Caitlin Clark's impact on the WNBA‘s viewership has been remarkable during her rookie season. The Fever have been involved in the top five most-watched WNBA games since 2002, including their recent matchup against the Sky with a 1.3 rating and 2.25 million viewers.

This game surpassed Clark's WNBA debut on ESPN2 Opening Night as the league's most-watched game since the 2001 Memorial Day matchup between the Los Angeles Sparks and Houston Comets, which drew 2.44 million viewers.

The Caitlin Clark effect

“This is the Caitlin Clark effect. She may not be good enough to be on the Olympic team, but she is easily the greatest player without even playing half a season. She is the greatest player for business in the history of the league. And it's not close,” Cowherd highlighted.

The Fever struggled initially with a 3-10 record in their first 13 games but have since turned things around with three consecutive victories. Notable among these wins are a 91-84 triumph over the Atlanta Dream on June 13 and a 91-83 victory against the Chicago Sky on June 16.

Clark's individual performance has been solid, averaging 16.3 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.5 rebounds across her first 16 WNBA games.

The Fever rookie may have the biggest contribution to the league but the 2024 rookie class has been impressive as well. There’s no way but up for the entire WNBA if everyone rallies behind Clark and recognizes what she brings to the sport.