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Interest in women’s basketball, sports growing throughout western Washington

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Interest in women’s basketball, sports growing throughout western Washington


SEATTLE — The WNBA Draft took place Monday evening, as Caitlin Clark and other young stars in the spotlight continue to grow the popularity of women’s basketball and women’s sports throughout the region.

“Seattle is actually viewed as a hub for women’s sports now, in a way that a lot of other cities aren’t,” said Jen Barnes, the CEO/Founder of Rough & Tumble.

Barnes opened this pub to get more people to watch women’s sports. And now over a year after she opened the business, her dream is coming true. 

“People who never watched it before, are watching women’s basketball now,” Barnes said.

And the numbers back that up. According to Nielsen, about 14.8 million people watched the NCAA Men’s Championship game last Monday. But the day before, nearly 18.9 million people tuned in to watch the Women’s National Championship. That’s about double the number of people who watched the women’s final last year. 

“It’s been packed,” Barnes said. “Lines down the block just to get in. I think it was for the Final Four, we had a seven-page waitlist after people had been seated.”

She said a lot of that has to do with Clark and other rising standouts in the women’s game.

“We’re excited about the direction that our game is going and all of the momentum that we have right now,” said Talisa Rhea, Seattle Storm general manager.

Rhea said the Clark effect is real. Single-game tickets for the Storm went on sale Monday, with fans opening up their wallets to see Clark when the Storm takes on her new team the Indiana Fever. 

Fans will have the opportunity to see Clark at Climate Pledge Arena on May 22 and June 27.

“We had our best first day in franchise history,” Rhea said. “Especially for those Indiana games things sold out in the lower bowl, we’ve opened up the upper bowl, there’s just a lot of excitement.”

Training camp for the Storm is set to happen in a couple of weeks at its new training facility in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood.

The Storm’s first home game will be against the Minnesota Lynx on May 14.



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