After the highest-scoring and most prolific college basketball career in history, Caitlin Clark broke another record by signing a $28 million Nike deal that includes a custom shoe and spans over eight years.

The former Iowa Hawkeye was drafted as the number one overall pick in the WNBA’s Indiana Fever draft and has already distinguished herself from those with the best endorsements in the league.

Clark, represented by Excel Sports Management, had an initial name, image and likeness deal that expired at the end of the 2023-24 college season. The new agreement would be the richest-ever sponsorship for a women’s basketball player.

Under Armour and Adidas also reportedly communicated about contracts with Clark and her agents in February. Still, communications have died down since the Nike deal has been put on the table.

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Clark reportedly received over $16 million in offers over four years from Under Armour and over $6 million in offers from Adidas, including a signature shoe.

Despite the huge sum, some critics say the endorsement money is too small given the staggering numbers male athletes get—Michael Jordan, for example, earned $60 million per year in prime from Nike alone. 

Clark’s agents worked on the Nike deal before she even declared the WNBA draft instead of returning to Iowa for her eligible fifth year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She will earn a $76,000 salary in her first season as a rookie.

Her recent appearance on Saturday Night Live exposed Clark to a broader audience and demonstrated her polished performances in media settings, which has been said to be another reason for the Nike deal.

Of the Fever’s 40 games this year, 36 will be nationally televised, and ticket sales have already skyrocketed.

From her deep three-pointers to her flashy dribbling skills, Clark’s performances and record-breaking have been the main drive for the uptick in interest in women’s basketball. A WNBA record 2.45 million watched the WNBA draft, and a women’s basketball record 18.9 million watched Iowa’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament final.

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