WNBA Draft
April 15, 2024: WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert poses with draftees.

The Local W Notebook: My Experience Covering the Landmark 2024 WNBA Draft

I had the privilege of attending the 2024 WNBA Draft at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, N.Y. with ‘The Local W.’ The event was filled with celebration, style and a culmination of years of hard work for these draftees. Thirty-six women heard their names called on Monday night, and 16 of those draftees were in attendance to walk up on stage to deafening applause from their families, coaches, teammates and the fans in attendance. The 2024 draft became the most-watched in WNBA history, drawing 2.45 million viewers on ESPN. Viewership peaked at 3.09 million, which quadrupled last year’s viewership and marked an increase of +1164% in total engagements on social media. This draft class was one of the most anticipated in years and the numbers confirmed it, bringing in new followers, fanbases and women’s sports fanatics.

The Orange Carpet

The “orange” carpet served as an introduction to the night, where each draftee was introduced and got to show off their stylish draft day outfits—including Caitlin Clark’s white two-piece Prada look, Nika Mühl‘s two-piece black satin outfit, Alissa Pili’s floor-length gown paying tribute to her Alaskan and Samoan heritage, Australian Nyadiew Puoch’s turquoise and pearl ombre gown, Angel Reese’s hooded and backless gray dress and Rickea Jackson’s two outfits during the night. Each player’s style and personality was represented in their draft day outfits which made it more exciting.

Aaliyah Edwards at the WNBA Draft
April 15, 2024: Aaliyah Edwards enters the WNBA Draft.
Aliyah Boston, Aaliyah Edwards, and Paige Bueckers at the 2024 WNBA Draft
April 15, 2024: Aliyah Boston, Aaliyah Edwards, and Paige Bueckers at the 2024 WNBA Draft

The carpet also served as a chance for the players to get interviewed before the event by a select number of media members, including multimedia women’s sport journalist Ari Chambers, journalist Pepper Persley and 2023 WNBA draft No. 1 pick and Rookie of the Year with the Indiana Fever, Aliyah Boston. I stood near where the draftees walked in off the buses, capturing the moment up close. 

The orange carpet at the WNBA Draft
April 15, 2024: The Orange Carpet at the WNBA Draft

Inside Look At the Press Room

Over a hundred media members got access to a workroom, to edit photos, clip interviews and write draft recap pieces for their respective outlets. The room also served as the press conference space; after each player’s name was announced and recognized, they came into the press conference room and spoke with media members. It was neat to ask questions to a player about their new team and get their initial reactions to the gravity of this moment in their lives and careers. 

Angel Reese at the WNBA Draft
April 15, 2024: Angel Reese at the podium at the WNBA Draft

Even though emotions were inevitably running high, each player was well-spoken and honest in their answers, highlighting their journey from watching the WNBA growing up to adversity faced in college and their careers to now being ready to get to work at the highest professional level.

Fans in Attendance

This was the first WNBA draft in recent years that fans were in attendance. The draft was held at Spring Studios the previous two years, but over 1,000 tickets were allotted for fans this time around, which sold out in less than 10 minutes. While I was not on the floor for many of the picks, I could hear the cheers from the crowd on another floor of the building.

Ellie the Elephant at the WNBA Draft
April 15, 2024: New York Liberty mascot Ellie the Elephant at the WNBA Draft

The New York Liberty loyal fans were in full force, often starting their own chants, and Ellie the Elephant even made a cameo, sporting her typical look with her high-energy dancing. I made it out onto the event floor during the second-round picks and saw a cool surprise moment when Iowa guard Kate Martin was drafted to the Las Vegas Aces with the No. 18 pick. Martin originally came to support Clark but was hoping to hear her name called as well. The crowd erupted, getting to its feet as Martin made her way from the audience to the stage. 

WNBA Draft
April 15, 2024: The orchestra area of the WNBA Draft

This event proved just how dedicated WNBA fans are, whether they are new to the league or have been following for years. To continue to capitalize on this, the league should continue to hold the draft in larger spaces with fans in attendance. 

Setting up for the Season

All in all, my first WNBA draft was a success. I met and connected with people who I have followed on Instagram and X for years. I got photos on the orange carpet and the draft stage. Even as a fan, attending the WNBA Draft is a must to see players’ lifelong dreams come true and see your favorite team add key pieces to a potential title run. 

This was an incredible introduction to the season, with training camps beginning on April 28, preseason games starting on May 3 and the regular season tipping off on May 14. While it is a busy and quick turnaround, the draft was a celebration and recognition of the college and international careers of these future stars of the league.