March 8, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Kim Adams talks Caitlin Clark multi-year trading card deal

'I think this is the first time that we are seeing a college athlete having this much influence'

On today’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, Fox Sports personality Kim Adams joins host Gigi Speer to discuss the boom of NIL in women’s basketball. They also talked about Caitlin Clark and her recent exclusive trading card deal with prominent sports memorabilia company Panini America, and how the deal could forecasts where the future of NIL could be.

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“I will say there’s nothing like having a tangible item that you can have, either in your house, hung up on a wall or something where kids can actually read about the accomplishment on the card,” Speer explained. “Actually having it in your hand is is so revolutionary, and it’s a very symbolic moment. And I think the best part of this is a traditionally male dominated field of trading cards will open up to more female athletes from this. We know that we know Caitlin Clark is one of one, but that doesn’t mean that her records won’t get passed … this is going to have a domino effect, and maybe we could call it like a trading card effect too. I think that this Panini America deal, plus all the other NIL opportunities that Clark has had, and that she’s going to continue to bring with her as she enters the [WNBA] for sure, it’s just so obvious to me that this had to happen.”

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Adams expanded on that point, adding that while there have been other players at the level of Caitlin Clark, changes in the women’s basketball media landscape have substantially increased Clark’s visibility and impact.

“I think this is the first time that we are seeing something like this, a college athlete having this much influence nationwide, worldwide,” Adams said. “Exposure is making a huge difference in terms of people being able to follow the sport and just say, oh, ‘I want to watch Caitlin Clarke play’ and finding out that they can watch it on network TV or national TV, when that hasn’t always been the case.”

“And then you have social media, then you have NIL. Like, we’ve never seen a college athlete in commercials during the season. It’s just crazy. We’re seeing her in the State Farm ads, we’re seeing Gatorade put out a commercial the moment she breaks Pete Maravich‘s record the other day, these are all things that couldn’t happen even three years ago, let alone 15, 20 years ago,” she continued. “Fans are coming out and selling out every road game she plays. They’re gonna sell out the big 10 tournament, not just for her, of course, but she’s certainly a big part of why. So it’s just unbelievable.”

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“Like, I’ve had conversations with just different colleagues [asking] ‘Have, have we ever seen a college athlete like this?’,” Adams said. “[Zion Williams]’s name has come up, but he just played the one year. Johnny Manziel, I would say is like a name that kind of everybody knew. But I would say this is bigger than anything we’ve ever seen before for a college athlete.”

Speer and Adams also discussed the behind the scenes work of sports broadcasting, especially in the lead up to post-season tournaments, as more on the impact of Clark’s game and NIL. Tune in to Locked On Women’s Basketball on YouTube and make sure to subscribe to the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball, basketball history and much more!

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