Women who play sports in college are the millionaires everyone is talking about – this phenomenon is now all the rage in the US | Sport

Women who play sports in college are the millionaires everyone

Women’s college basketball is so hyped that the US media can’t keep up. University series The NCAA final tournament started at the end of March and ended for the women on Sunday evening with South Carolina’s victory.

Women’s matches broke television viewership records time and time again, and ticket prices were also sky-high.

A ticket to the women’s semifinal match cost an average of more than $1,300, compared to an average of $400 for an entrance ticket at the same time a year ago. You could also pay a decent amount for the men’s semi-finals, but the tickets were more than half the price compared to the women’s matches.

In the championship match, the numbers rose to new heights again, when an average of more than $2,300 was paid for a ticket to the women’s final match.

College sports are very popular in North America, but the charm seen this spring is even more extraordinary.

Playing in Indiana, one of the top universities in the country Henna Sandvik says that women’s college basketball has grown into a massive phenomenon, especially in recent years.

– A few years ago, I chose a school that suited me, but the visibility of the sport was nowhere near this level then. Now, for example, social media is full of women’s basketball, but back then the situation was completely different.

According to Sandvik, who lives on the Indiana University campus, the sport’s popularity is constantly seen in everyday situations.

– If you go to any restaurant or store, there is a women’s basket on display. Everyone is talking about it.

“The stardom of female players exceeds the popularity of men”

Even today, it is exceptional that the popularity of the women’s ball series surpasses the corresponding men’s series.

Even in the semifinals, the TV viewership figures for the women’s matches were higher than for any NBA match last season. The average viewership for the final game between Iowa and South Carolina went up to 18.7 million. That’s the largest reading for any basketball game in the United States in five years.

Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal declared that he would watch only women’s matches this year.

– I don’t think I know a single player from the men’s league, O’Neal quipped before the NCAA semifinals.

Lakers superstar LeBron James instead crystallized, where the popularity of women’s basketball comes from.

– The stardom of female players exceeds the popularity of men, because they have icons. Players who are known superstars.

Among the top individuals, there are those mentioned by James, among others Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, JuJu Watkins, Paige Bueckers, Audi Crooks, Cameron Brink and Hannah Hidalgo.

It is noteworthy that three of them were only playing their first year in college. Watkins, Crooks and Hidalgo have managed in one season to become the favorite players of the whole nation, whose performances are followed relentlessly.

The brightest star, however, has been Iowa’s record holder Caitlin Clark, who was surrounded by a huge media frenzy throughout the season. A player of Clark’s caliber has never been seen before in women’s basketball, which is why the arenas were filled with fans at all of Iowa’s home and away games.

Another of the series’ most visible superstars has been LSU’s Angel Reese, who led his team to the championship last season. Reese is known as an aggressive offensive end player who burns his opponents verbally as well. He stands out with his uncommonly brash style of play, and his unapologetic self-confidence draws viewers to him.

The exceptionally high skill level of female players has been noticed all over the world. What else makes women’s basketball interesting?

A long time influencer in both Finnish and international basketball with Henrik Dettmann is an exhaustive answer to the question.

– As is often the case: where men solve things with strength, women solve with intelligence. People clearly appreciate that.

Rule change as an accelerator

Although the professional careers of Clark and Reese will not start until next summer in the WNBA, both are already millionaires. Currently, Clark is estimated to earn approximately $3.4 million per year in endorsement deals, the fourth most of any American college athlete.

Reese is the second women’s basketball player to make the list of highest-paid college athletes. His contracts are worth about $1.8 million.

However, it was only a few years ago that athletes were able to use their own personal brand and collect income at the university.

Personal cooperation agreements were allowed in 2021, and of NIL deals as a result, athletes and universities have succeeded in increasing their visibility at a rocket-like speed.

According to Sandvik, this has expanded the fan base of women’s basketball.

– Through certain companies, fans have been obtained who have not previously followed women’s sports at all. Now they have found their way to women’s basketball, Sandvik is happy.

However, for European players, NIL contracts are a trickier thing.

National team back player who ended his college career at Florida State this season Sara Bejedi notes that due to visa issues, only US citizens can earn personal NIL contracts.

– Of course, it puts the players in a rather unequal position. Bench players on top teams might get $30,000 a season even if they don’t play a minute. Many players also want to change schools for money.

However, Bejedi is happy about the visibility the sport has achieved and hopes that the effects will also extend beyond the university league.

– Hopefully, with the popularity, the salaries of female players will rise. There is a lot to do, but the direction is right.

The WNBA, whose booking ceremony will be held on April 16, is also trying to take advantage of the college basketball boom.

The doors of the booking event open for fans after an eight-year hiatus. Tickets for the draft went on sale at the beginning of March, and they sold out in 15 minutes.

The competition in the professional series of 12 teams and 144 players is fierce. The WNBA season starts in May, when it will be clear whether college stars will claim their place among the league’s elite.