Caitlin Clark Closes to Endorsement Deal With Nike: Sources

Reporting by Shams Sarania, Mike Workunov and Ben Pickman

Indiana Fever rookie phenom Kaitlyn Clark — the No. 1 pick in Monday's WNBA draft — is closing in on a lucrative, eight-figure endorsement deal with Nike, according to industry sources. Athletic.

Clark is also expected to get a signature Nike shoe, the sources said. Under Armor and Adidas offered Clark substantial offers, two industry sources said.

Clark's previous contract with Nike expired at the end of the recently concluded college basketball season, allowing him to hit the market at the height of his popularity. Clark was a supernova at the University of Iowa, breaking records and bringing new fans to college basketball. In the women's NCAA tournament, Iowa set viewership records for every game it played, reaching 18.9 million viewers for hockey's national title game loss to South Carolina.

The Fever drafted the 22-year-old Clark first overall in Monday's draft. Interest in the draft was at an all-time high, and it also set viewership records, breaking the previous record for most viewers (2.4 million) for this year's draft, with four times more viewers than last year. The WNBA Draft was established in 2004.

With sponsors flocking to her in recent months and Kaitlyn Clarke showing interest in staying in business, Clarke was expected to land one of the most lucrative sneaker deals in the WNBA. He already has endorsement deals with Gatorade, State Farm and Panini.

Golden State's Stephen Curry — who launched the Curry brand as a signature, stand-alone venture with Under Armor — participated in the companies' meeting with Clark, industry sources said. The Curry brand signed Kings star De'Aaron Fox as its first NBA athlete late last year and signed University of South Carolina guard Milesia Fulvili to a multi-year NIL contract, becoming the first college athlete to partner directly with the company.

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Last week showed just how in-demand and mainstream Clark has become. He made a guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” Then, WNBA draft ratings soared. Fanatics said his jersey was the best-selling of any draft pick taken on draft night in company history. Ticket interest is also continuously increasing.

In his post-draft news conference, Clark said turning professional hasn't had a significant impact on how he conducts any off-court business.

“If I'm being completely honest, I feel like I haven't changed a ton from how I've lived in the last year,” he said. “The sponsorships will remain the same. The people around me, agents and whatnot, have been able to help and guide me throughout the past year. I don't know if I would be at this point if it wasn't for so many of them.


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(Photo by Caitlin Clark: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

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