Caitlin Clark’s College NIL Earnings Will FAR Surpass Her WNBA Salary


If you’ve seen any college basketball action this year, you likely caught a glimpse of Caitlin Clark. The former Iowa star led the Hawkeyes to back-to-back title appearances in the women’s NCAA Tournament, breaking just about every scoring record along the way. While her impressive shooting got the most headlines, she also displayed fantastic passing skills and deft handles with the ball.

Even if you aren’t a hoops fan, you may have seen Clark appearing on your screen. She’s partnered with State Farm, Nike, Gatorade, Buick, and other major brands through name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals. It’s only been a few years since college players could capitalize on this type of deal, and Clark made the most of it.

She’s earned an estimated $3.1 million in NIL deals. Her play on the court was a big factor, of course, and she also benefited from the NCAA finally allowing Topps to use the March Madness logo on its trading cards. The players featured on those cards received some compensation as part of the deal, which helped drive more buzz around both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

As Clark heads to the WNBA, she’ll sign a rookie contract that will pay her about $76,000 this upcoming season. The league and individual teams also have unique marketing deals, and teams can add various incentive bonuses to their contracts.

It’s quite the dropoff from her NIL earnings, though Clark will still be able to make money from those, plus any new deals. And there’s potentially more good news on the horizon. The WNBA has a new TV deal starting in 2025, which will be worth more than previous seasons. The top base salary in the league is $242,000, but as the added star power of Clark and other incoming players continues to grow the sport’s popularity, those base salaries could increase.

There’s still a massive disparity between the WNBA and the NBA, however, which has been a problem since the WNBA was founded. This year’s NBA No. 1 pick, Victor Wembanyama, is making about $12.16 million this season.

While Clark’s salary won’t approach those of NBA players, she’s perhaps the most marketable player the WNBA has ever seen. With an abundance of potential NIL deals, she’ll likely earn millions more during her rookie season — and beyond.

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