Sports

Poll: Caitlin Clark is biggest name in NCAA basketball, male or female

Name recognition for the Iowa women's basketball star is more than double that of any other college basketball player in the country.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark.
Rebecca S. Gratz / AP
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A new poll is declaring Iowa star Caitlin Clark the biggest name in college basketball — regardless of gender.

According to the 2024 Seton Hall Sports Poll, more than 4 in 10 (44%)  Americans said they've heard of Clark before. That number increased to 58% for people who described themselves as sports fans, and 68% among avid sports fans.

Additionally, when respondents were given the names of five male and five female NCAA basketball players, Clark ranked first in name recognition — more than two times greater than any other athlete on the list. Another woman, Louisiana State University's Angel Reese, came in second with 18% of Americans saying they recognize her name.

Most US adults follow women's sports, study finds
Most US adults follow women's sports, study finds

Most US adults follow women's sports, study finds

About 55% of U.S. adults consume women's sports content, and men are more likely to tune in than women, a study found.

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From breaking the all-time college basketball scoring record, to drawing the largest women's basketball regular season television audience of the past 25 years, there's no denying Clark's indelible impact on college basketball. And with the NCAA men's and women's March Madness tournaments tipping off Thursday, Clark's name alone is expected to attract record viewership for this year's women's tournament.

According to the poll, nearly two-thirds of sports fans agreed that women's college basketball is now more popular than ever, with nearly half (48%) of the general population and 74% of avid sports fans saying they will tune in to this year's women's March Madness tournament. Those figures are up more than 8% and 7% respectively since last year. 

“Caitlin Clark is carrying the March Madness brand this year,” the poll's chief methodologist Daniel Ladik said in a blog post. “It’s likely that viewer numbers for the Women’s tournament will surpass all previous records and her presence alone is a logo shot for the NCAA.”

The Seton Hall Sports Poll surveyed more than 1,500 U.S. adults between March 15-18. It was conducted in partnership with Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business and YouGov, a global public opinion and data company.