Caitlin Clark ‘is set to sign eight-figure Nike endorsement deal that includes her own SIGNATURE SHOE’ as President Joe Biden and many others bemoan her meager $76,535 rookie WNBA salary

With Joe Biden and countless others bemoaning Caitlin Clark’s meager $76,535 rookie salary, the WNBA sensation is now reportedly finalizing an eight-figure endorsement deal with Nike.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Sharania, the agreement will likely include her own signature shoe, thereby putting the Indiana Fever rookie in a category with New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu as one of only a few women who can claim that honor. Adidas and Under Armour also reportedly had interest in signing Clark, who was picked first overall at Monday’s WNBA Draft in Brooklyn.

A $338,056 sum dispersed over four seasons, Clark’s rookie deal was limited by the terms of the WNBA collective-bargaining agreement rookie pay scale – a labor deal that was negotiated in 2020, before her freshman year at Iowa.

Regardless, Clark’s rookie salary is less than 1 percent of NBA first-overall pick Victor Wembanyama’s $12 million take, and that fact has reignited the debate over the gender wage gap in sports.

‘Women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all,’ read a post on Biden’s X account. ‘But right now we’re seeing that even if you’re the best, women are not paid their fair share.

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever talks to the media during an introductory press conference

Biden says women to be 'paid what they deserve' as people sound off online over  Clark's deal

Biden says women to be ‘paid what they deserve’ as people sound off online over  Clark’s deal

‘It’s time that we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure women are paid what they deserve.’ 

Not only is Wembanyama’s rookie deal with the San Antonio Spurs worth $55 million, but the 7-foot-4 Frenchman has his own Nike contract rumored to be valued at more than $100 million.

That’s not entirely surprising, given the NBA’s popularity, which makes it more profitable than its sister league.  For starters, its $2.7 billion annual national television revenue dwarfs the WNBA’s $60 million annual contract.

But Clark has seemingly changed the math for the WNBA, which enjoyed its highest-rated draft on Monday with 2.45 million viewers. And back in Indianapolis, the Fever reported more than 17,000 attendees at their WNBA Draft watch party.

Clark won’t make her WNBA regular-season debut until May 14, but ticket prices on the secondary market have already soared over $500. Meanwhile, the defending-champion Las Vegas Aces have made plans to open up 7,000 more seats when the Fever come to town on May 25.

Clark has already signed lucrative deals with companies like State Farm Insurance

The basketball star also has a deal in place with Gatorade

Clark has already signed lucrative deals with companies like State Farm and Gatorade

Other athletes – and not just female sports stars – have taken notice. 

‘These ladies deserve so much more,’ Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson wrote on X earlier this week.  

But not everyone agrees. 

‘Russ, no snark, but explain to me why they deserve so much more,’ responded podcaster Jason Whitlock. ‘Are they curing cancer, educating children, building rocket ships?’ 

Whitlock continued down this path, arguing that the WNBA isn’t profitable enough to justify larger salaries for its players.

‘Hundreds of thousands of young people leave college each year and start careers for less than 70k a year,’ continued Whitlock, a sports pundit reportedly worth millions. ‘Is a basketball player in a league that loses money every year worth more than an electrical engineer?

‘Walk me through it. Thanks and good luck in Pittsburgh.’

Caitlin Clark signs autographs for fans during the 2024 WNBA Draft on April 15

Caitlin Clark signs autographs for fans during the 2024 WNBA Draft on April 15

Of course, Clark has already earned millions in endorsement deals with brands like State Farm, but the controversial podcaster was only addressing her current WNBA salary – something she was unable to really negotiate, per the current collective-bargaining agreement. 

Whitlock did not get a response from Wilson, but there are encouraging signs for the WNBA’s bottom line.

The league jumped from a reported $60 million in revenue in 2022 to a reported $200 million in 2023. And with a new media rights deal on the horizon, those figures can continue to increase, given the popularity of Clark and the rest of the 2024 WNBA Draft class.

(From right to left) Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark and Cameron Brink at the WNBA Draft

(From right to left) Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark and Cameron Brink at the WNBA Draft 

Before becoming the obvious first-overall pick by the Fever, Clark spent the last month guiding Iowa to its second consecutive NCAA championship game while garnering the biggest television audiences in tournament history. In the last few days she’s been on Saturday Night Live and NBC’s Today Show, not to mention countless publications, websites, as well as the lips and ears of sports fans across the country.

Sponsors have already taken notice, with Opill, SKIMS, Peloton, La Crema, and Tissot announcing partnerships with the WNBA in recent weeks.

The league already plans to add a new team in 2025, but with Clark’s arrival, there is more expansion talk in the works, not to mention a new media deal that could dwarf the current contract.

‘This is an important year for us around viewership, around attendance, around all the qualitative and quantitative factors that go into the valuation of media rights,’ commissioner Cathy Engelbert said Monday.

‘The one thing I know about sports, you need household names, rivalries and games of consequence,’ she continued, referencing the women’s NCAA tournament. ‘Those are the three things we’ve had over the past couple weeks.’

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