DAILY DIRT: We are about to move into the next phase of The Caitlin Clark Effect

2HPB1BA Bloomington, United States. 19th Feb, 2022. Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) goes to the basket against Indiana University during an NCAA women's basketball game in Bloomington, Ind. The Iowa Hawkeyes beat the Indiana University Hoosiers 96-91. Credit: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Live News

Caitlin Clark's last NCAA tournament will roll right into her WNBA debut. — SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Live News

Daily Dirt for Saturday, March 16, 202

It’s an exciting time if you are a women’s basketball fan … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 895 of The Daily Dirt.

1. I’m attempting to guard my words carefully, but I have this strong feeling in the pit of my stomach that we might on the edge of a new era in women’s sports.

And it could be an era that will see women’s pro basketball explode in popularity. It has been labeled by one outlet as The Caitlin Clark Effect.

For years, women’s pro basketball — specifically the WNBA — has been around, but let’s be honest, we’ve paid minimal attention to it as a collective sports nation.

I think we are seeing that all changing in rapid-fire fashion, and the eventual exclamation point will be provided by Clark herself.

Clark is turning pro once the current college season concludes at the end of the NCAA Tournament. Clark is finishing up her fourth campaign at the University of Iowa, and it’s fair to say the Hawkeyes’ wunderkind has captured the imagination of a nation.

Clark’s recent nationally televised game, a win over No. 2-ranked Ohio State, drew 4.4 million viewers, which was the second-most watched college basketball game of the season, trailing only the 5.18 million who saw the Michigan State-Arizona men’s game in late November. That men’s game also followed an NFL Thanksgiving game that provided a great lead-in, in terms of viewers.

And, I hope you are sitting down, because Fox Sports announced a few days ago that women’s college basketball is averaging bigger audiences than the men’s game on its network: 981,000 to 946,000. Women’s college basketball is up 48 percent on Fox this season and 60 percent across all national networks.

Yes, this all helps us love Caitlin Clark even more, and the fact that the WNBA season begins May 14 — just a little over a month following the NCAA Tournament — will only help sporting America continue that love affair.

Want more?

  • The Indiana Fever has the No. 1 pick in the April 15 WNBA draft, and just the presumption the team will be taking Clark has more than doubled average ticket prices (from $60 per game to $140).
  • The Chicago Sky has announced its average ticket prices for home games with the Fever will go from $25 to $320.
  • The WNBA as a whole is on quite a run. The defending champion Las Vegas Aces have sold out their entire season, the first time a women’s pro team has accomplished that.

We could be on the verge of something very, very exciting. And we have Caitlin Clark to thank.

2. Gold Radio has named its top 10 songs of 1964.

That’s 60 years ago for those without a calculator in hand.

  • 1. “House of the Rising Sun,” by the Animals: Lead singer Eric Burdon is still performing at age 82.
  • 2. “You Really Got Me,” by the Kinks: The Kinks were one of those bad-boy type groups, and this was their finest effort.
  • 3. “Oh Pretty Woman,” by Roy Orbison: Orbison died of a heart attack at age 52, shortly after his final performance in Highland Heights, Ohio, in 1988.
  • 4. “Walk on By,” by Dionne Warwick: I have never thought Warwick received the acclaim she deserved. She’ll be 84 in December and is still singing.
  • 5. “Baby Love,” by the Supremes: This was before the group was billed as “Diana Ross and the Supremes”.
  • 6. “Leader of the Pack,” by the Shangri-Las: Twisted Sister also has a version of this song. Bizarre.
  • 7. “Dancing in the Street,” by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: For most of their career, this group was overshadowed by the Supremes. Kind of sad.
  • 8. “I Feel Fine,” by the Beatles: You know the Fab Four would show up somewhere in this list.
  • 9. “All Day and All of the Night,” by the Kinks: Good song, but not as good as No. 2.
  • 10. “World Without Love,” by Peter and Gordon: Peter and Gordon? Chad and Jeremy? They were all the same to me.

Gold Radio is a network of oldies radio stations in the United Kingdom, which was formed by the merger of the Capital Gold network and the Classic Gold network in August 2007.

3. The latest and greatest about Chuck Norris:

  • Chuck Norris is the narrator of Morgan Freeman’s life story.
  • Chuck Norris once went to Britain. It’s now known as Great Britain.
  • Chuck Norris uses pepper spray to season his meat.
  • Ghosts tell Chuck Norris stories around the campfire.
  • When Chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — Did you know Chuck Norris can hear sign language?

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. How is Caitlin Clark’s nickname not “Lady Bird”?

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