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Caitlin Clark will reportedly sign a sneaker deal with Nike

By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

New York (CNN) — Caitlin Clark is reportedly set to wear her own signature Nike sneaker in the WNBA.

Clark helped lift women’s college basketball to new heights, became the leading scorer in NCAA basketball history and was taken as first pick in the WNBA draft. Now she’s set to sign an eight-year deal worth up to $28 million with Nike, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Athletic has reported that Clark’s deal includes a signature Nike shoe.

Nike did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment. CNN has not independently confirmed a deal between Clark and Nike.

Clark has been highly sought after by brands. State Farm, Gatorade, Panini and others have endorsement deals with Clark, valued at around $3 million.

These endorsement deals will help Clark supplement her $76,535 rookie salary in the WNBA. The top NBA pick will make a $10.5 million salary — 137 times more than Clark.

Endorsement deals are significant for both brands and athletes, and no athletic company spends more on player endorsements than Nike. In 2023, Nike spent $4 billion on marketing, including endorsements with stars like LeBron James, Serena Williams and Derek Jeter.

Nearly all major stars in the NBA have sneaker deals, including James, Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic with Nike and Stephen Curry with Under Armour. But sneaker deals are still rare in the WNBA.

Clark is just the third active WNBA player to have a shoe deal with a major brand, according to Brian Nagel, a retail analyst at Oppenheimer.

Nike signed 2020 WNBA first overall pick Sabrina Ionescu to a $24 million endorsement deal last year. Nike’s deal with the New York Liberty star includes Ionescu’s own signature shoe line.

Nike’s move to sign Clark comes as it focuses on expanding its women’s business, which makes up just 22% of its sales.

The deal “marks part of a larger effort [from Nike] to drive greater interest to previously overlooked areas such as women’s team sports,” Brian Nagel said in a note to clients Thursday.

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