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Thursday, May 23, 2024

The WNBA’s Ticket Market Is Booming, but Challenges Loom

  • A full-fledged ticket resale market is now developing around the league.
  • Plenty of cheap Fever tickets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse can still be found.
Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most overt and dramatic signs of the meteoric growth of the WNBA is not the sky-high pricing for games involving the Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark, but the rapid maturation of the entire secondary ticket market for the league. 

Ever since the Fever won the WNBA lottery and were set to select Clark with the league’s top draft pick, prices for the team’s games, both home and away, have soared in cost, sometimes into the thousands of dollars per ticket. But those headlines can obscure an even bigger reality: The popularity of the league is such that sellouts are now going to become a more regular occurrence, and with that heightened demand, resale of WNBA tickets is yet another way that the league is now going to more closely mirror older, more established leagues in men’s major pro sports.

“This does feel a bit like when the secondary market first really emerged for the NBA,” Patrick Ryan, cofounder of Texas-based ticket intelligence company Eventellect, tells Front Office Sports. “This also presents a big opportunity for teams to retarget fans to also consider other games that don’t involve Clark.”

Specific signs of the heightened demand include the Las Vegas Aces selling out their entire allotment of season tickets, the Dallas Wings and Atlanta Dream doing the same, and the Connecticut Sun announcing Monday their first opening-night sellout since 2003—thanks in no small part to the arrival of Clark and the Fever as the away team. Several individual games this season also have already shifted into larger venues due to the unprecedented demand. 

Some of this isn’t surprising, as even some recent WNBA preseason games have drawn record-level crowds. But as those attendance records are all but certain to extend into the regular season, the ticket economy existing around that interest is also expanding in real time. 

The maturation of the WNBA ticket market, however, won’t entirely be a straight line. Some Fever tickets in the upper deck of Gainbridge Fieldhouse can be had for as little as $2 each, as the team opened up the entire building for games this season—creating a big chunk of extra seating inventory that isn’t always coveted. 

Meanwhile, industry sources said there are still some pockets of market softness in the WNBA premium ticket market, with that segment likely to take longer to fully develop. 

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