Caitlin Clark
22-year-old women's basketball superstar Caitlin Clark will make less than $80,000 in her debut WNBA campaign. (Photo: Nike)

Caitlin Clark, a rising star of women's basketball, was recently selected by the Indiana Fever as the number one overall pick in the 2024 WNBA draft held in Brooklyn. Her selection has generated a lot of buzz, and her entry into the league is expected to attract a considerable audience, considering her impressive college career with the Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball team.

Clark's talent, along with other players in the WNBA, has played a crucial role in driving the growth of women's basketball. However, it's worth noting that Clark's current stardom won't be reflected in her upcoming salary in the WNBA.

She is set to earn just $76,535 in her rookie year, which is much lower than what other professionals in different sectors earn in the US. According to data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, in 2023, the average police detective and acupuncturist made more than the $75,535 Clark will receive next season.

Police detectives earned $95,930, whilst acupuncturists made $84,260. Even the average escalator and elevator repairer earned just over $100,000 last year. Clark's salary is meagre compared to what other rising sports stars in the US will make.

For instance, a first-round draft pick in this year's NBA draft is set to earn $10 million in their rookie season, whilst the number one overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft will earn just over $7 million. In 2023, the average American athlete who competed across all spectator sports made $370,690.

According to Bloomberg, the WNBA generated nearly $200 million last year, which is considerably less than the $10 billion the NBA can bring in every season. The WNBA players' union negotiates the salaries paid to the league's players.

The players selected from fifth to eighth in the first round of this year's draft will earn $73,439, and those drafted from ninth to 12th will pick up a first-year salary of $70,344. Second and third-round draft picks from the 2024 draft will earn $67,249 and $64,154 in their rookie-year salaries, respectively.

However, more established stars in the WNBA can earn over $200,000 annually from their contracts. Las Vegas Aces shooting guard Jackie Young is in line to be the highest-paid NWBA player in the upcoming season, as she will earn $252,450. Despite Clark's low WNBA rookie salary, she will have other sources of income.

She has a name, image, and likeness valuation of over $3 million thanks to endorsement deals with brands such as Nike, Gatorade, State Farm Insurance, and Topps. Clark is expected to attract more sponsors once she settles into the WNBA and will be instrumental in helping the league grow even more.

The 2024 WNBA season is scheduled to start on May 14.