Iowa guard Caitlin Clark drives to the basket between Ohio State...

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark drives to the basket between Ohio State guard/forward Taylor Thierry, left, and guard Rikki Harris during the second half of an NCAA basketball game Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa. Credit: Cliff Jette

It is undoubtedly a sign of the growth of women’s sports that Caitlin Clark will enter the WNBA with generational wealth before playing one second as a professional.

And to hear Janet Duch, the executive vice president of marketing and communications for UBS Arena and the Islanders, it is long overdue.

“It puts her on a global and national platform, right?” Duch said about Clark, following a women in sports symposium at UBS Arena Tuesday, prior to the Blues-Islanders game. “Her record holds true. Not just in women’s basketball but across college basketball. And I think it’s the natural conversation that we have (right now) and she’s been given that platform.”

Clark, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history with 3,685 points, agreed to a brand ambassador partnership with Gainbridge, Sports Business Journal reported Tuesday. Gainbridge is an insurance and wealth management company based in Indiana. It also holds the naming rights to Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the home arena of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.

The Fever hold the first overall selection in the upcoming WNBA Draft, and Clark is the prohibitive favorite to be drafted with the No. 1 pick.

Clark also has corporate partnerships with Gatorade, Nike, H&R Block, Buick, Bose and Goldman Sachs, among others.

“You’re starting to see the corporate dollars and the investments coming,” Duch said.

The event was moderated by MSG Network Islanders pre- and postgame host Shannon Hogan, and the speakers and panelists included Duch; Dr. Stacey Rosen, the senior vice president of women’s health at Northwell Katz Health Institute for Women’s Health; Pattie Falch, the Marketing Director of Partnerships and Consumer Experience at Heineken USA; Alexis Moed, the president of NY Islanders Elite Hockey, NY Metros, and Northwell Ice Center Hockey Director; PWHL New York goalie Lindsey Post; and PWHL New York forward Alexa Gruschow.

The symposium was part of the Islanders’ Women in Sports promotion.

“Our job as women is to make it better for the next generation just like the generation before us did that for us,” Hogan said.

One of the main topics of conversation over the course of the 45-minute discussion was the growth of women’s sports. Gruschow and Post spoke about the immediate success of the nascent PWHL and their belief in the long-term viability of the league.

“I definitely see exponential growth,” Gruschow said. “We’ve already seen that in the first half of this inaugural year. So I think with just more investment we’re going to get more sponsorships, partnerships, media deals, broadcasting rights. We are on our way to just grow and grow and grow.

“I think that’s the story right now for women’s sports in general. …I think it’s just the time to invest in women’s sports and that will also bring in more fans and bring more attention and just keep bringing it forward.”

More women in sports


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months