April 08, 2024

Caitlin Clark's remarkable impact on the court has long been a topic of discussion, but a recent revelation delved into her economic influence, aptly labeled as 'Clarkonomics.' A study conducted by the Commonsense Institute (CSI) Iowa, a nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting Iowa's economy, quantified Clark's contribution at a staggering $52.3 million.

Described by CSI Board member Amber Mason Lusson as someone who has "exponentially enhanced women's sports" and significantly boosted the marketing of both the university and the state, Clark's economic footprint is substantial.

The bulk of Clark's financial impact stems from the surge in attendance at Iowa women's basketball home games. CSI estimates that this spike has injected anywhere between $14.4 million to $52.3 million into the state's economy. The study highlights that attendance at home conference games during the 2023-24 season was approximately 2.8 times higher than the year preceding Clark's arrival in Iowa City. Notably, nearly 15 percent of fans this season traveled from out of state, marking a five-percentage point increase from the pre-Clark era.

Remarkably, all 14 of Iowa women's basketball home games this season were sold out. A standout event was the outdoor exhibition match against DePaul at Kinnick Stadium on October 15, 2023, which set an NCAA women's basketball attendance record with 55,646 spectators.

The study's findings are particularly striking when juxtaposed with other financial metrics. For instance, the reported $52.3 million could equate to purchasing over 5,000 acres of Iowa farmland or covering the tuition expenses of over 4,500 University of Iowa students. Notably, the study did not specify whether the mentioned tuition figures refer to in-state or out-of-state rates. In 2023-24, tuition for Iowa residents stood at $10,964, while out-of-state residents paid $32,927. Meanwhile, the average cost of an acre of Iowa farmland in 2023 was reported as $11,835 by Iowa State University's Annual Land Value Survey.

Furthermore, Clark's influence extends beyond the confines of the basketball arena. Her impact on consumer spending in the state has been substantial, resulting in an increase of approximately $82.5 million, nearly double the revenue generated by the 2021 Iowa State Fair.

OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT3.5 (April 8) https://chat.openai.com/