Caitlin Clark’s $28 Million Nike Deal and Salary Prompt Dismay

Caitlin Clark’s $28 Million Nike Deal and Salary Prompt Dismay

Caitlin Clark, the number one pick of the WNBA draft, who started her professional career with the Indiana Fever, is set to sign a $28 million deal with Nike spanning the next eight years. According to the Associated Press, this deal marks the most lucrative sponsorship contract for a women’s basketball player in history. 

This past season, Clark made the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) all-time leading scorer across men’s and women’s college basketball with 3,951 points and the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Tournament history with 480 points as a student athlete from the University of Iowa. In addition, Clark was nominated for All-American Honor four times, Team All-Big Ten four times, and the Dawn Staley Award three times, according to, before she was drafted to Indiana Fever on April 24. For the first time since 2016, 1,000 WNBA 2024 Draft event tickets were sold out in merely fifteen minutes. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Clark denied Under Armour and Adidas’ offers of $16 million and $6 million shoe deals, respectively. Clark’s team stated that her floor price is $3 million per season, which again neither company was able to offer. On the other hand, not only is Nike willing to agree to it, but they also offered a $28 million deal including a signature shoe, and the company is looking forward to seeing Clark play a major role in the 2028 Olympics to be held in Los Angeles. In fact, in 2022, Nike and Clark already had a deal during her time at the University of Iowa that expired at the end of the 2023-2024 season. During her time at the university, Clark made, through endorsement deals with Gatorade and State Farm, approximately $3 million in NIL money (Name, Image, and Likeness), the means through which college athletes are allowed to receive financial compensation, according to According to, Clark will make a salary of $76,000 from the WNBA during her rookie season.  

However, many argue that this deal is inequitable. “If people want to complain about Caitlin Clark getting screwed complain about this,” tweeted Dave Portnoy, “8 year 28 million deal is STEALING 8 years 80 million min is her worth and that’s still prob too cheap. I hope she has an early opt-out if they don’t pay up when she blows through this deal.” Former American sports marketing executive who once signed Michael Jordan, Sonny Vaccaro, told TMZ: “She should have gotten a piece of everything, just like Michael Jordan.” In reaction to her $3 million salary over four years, “many people in the sports world and beyond were shocked and dismayed,” according to The New York Times, because last year’s top NBA draft pick Victor Wembanyama had a $55 million contract signed. Moreover, Joe Biden joined the debate regarding Caitlin Clark as well, saying, “Right now we’re seeing that even if you’re the best, women are not paid their fair share. It’s time that we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure women are paid what they deserve.”

In spite of what many perceive as an unfairly low salary, Caitlin Clark ranks as the top women’s college basketball player of all time and continues to make history. 

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Zoe Sun
Zoe Sun, Staff Writer
Zoe Sun ('25) enjoys reading current events and is excited to write pieces focusing on student life, entertainment, and current events for The Echo.