The future of women’s basketball is in a very good place.
On Tuesday morning, the WNBA and the WNBA Players Association announced that they have agreed upon a new collective bargaining agreement that will keep the league alive, and pleases the players that were becoming fed up with their working conditions.
Better money. Better travel. Better options for working/pregnant mothers.
It’s a win-win for both sides.
WNBA President Cathy Engelbert and WNBAPA President Nneka Ogwumike made the announced on Tuesday morning’s edition of “Good Morning America.”
“We’re so proud of the players and their ability to unify around the important issues to them,” said Engelbert. “While they bargained hard, we came together, we collaborated, and we have what we think is a groundbreaking agreement that’s going to support these players for the long term.”
The new eight-year deal will start with the upcoming 2020 season and end after the 2027 season. The biggest headline from the new CBA is that there will be a 53% increase in total cash compensation, meaning that the salaries of the league’s top players will triple, as the average salary will finally hit six figures. Under the old deal, players that had been in the league for six years maximum salary was only $115,000 compared to the average salary that was around $79,000. Entry-level NBA referees start at $150,000.
It’s now expected that WNBA stars can make $500,000 per year, while the league average will be around the $130,000 mark. Another huge part of the deal is that players on maternity leave will still receive their full salary, as players with kids will also receive a two-bedroom apartment during the season. And in terms of travel, players won’t have roommates in their hotel rooms like in college, as they now will fly with premium comfort tickets.
The league will also improve their wellness and mental health programs.
“Cathy Engelbert, the first WNBA Commissioner, brought her perspective as a former women’s basketball student-athlete, her experience as a business professional and her passion for the game to these negotiations,” wrote Ogwumike in a statement.
“We found common ground in areas that confirmed the league’s and the players’ intentions to not only make meaningful improvements in working conditions and overall professional experience, but also to improve the business with strategic planning and intentional marketing that will keep the WNBA front and center year-round.”