WE HAVE A NEW CBA EVERYBODY!!!!!
WNBAPA President Nneka Ogwumike and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced the new CBA on Good Morning America. It was a great moment for the league and the details that they shared made it clear that the WNBA is betting on women. Let’s sort through what we know and what it means.
The big question coming into the CBA negotiations was whether the players would start getting paid properly for their services. The new CBA is an absolutely massive step in the right direction. Go read the WNBA and WNBAPA’s statement for all the details. Here are the highlights for me:
- 53% increase in compensation for players
- Top players will be able to earn over $500,000 in total cash compensation
- Average player compensation will be $130,000, hitting six figures for the first time
- 50-50 revenue sharing between players and owners
- Minimum of $1.6 million in off-season league and team marketing agreements
- Maximum base salary will be at $250,000 (before bonuses and what not)
- The WNBA will work with its affiliated leagues, teams and sponsors to provide off-season job opportunities designed to prepare players for their post-playing careers and will advance diversity in coaching initiatives for veteran players interested in coaching careers.
That’s all fantastic. Players will now make a salary that they can be proud of, as Commish Englebert said on a conference call earlier today. They can make enough money to stay here full-time and grow the game in the US. It’s such a huge step in the right direction.
But notice that the term “cash compensation” is used far more than salary. That likely means that much of extra money will be coming in from bonuses. That is slightly scary since much of the conversation around the WNBA was about how it’s not bringing in money. Tying compensation to bonuses and “revenue goals” seems like it could lead to that compensation disappearing when revenue goes down or when the league needs to save money.
However, the league seems to be betting on women rather than giving into demands. The Commissioner said that this model is a more holistic view of compensation rather than just guaranteed salaries. At this point, we should believe the league and the players when they say that this deal will actually make playing in the WNBA worth it for all players.
The last part is important for players like Kristi Toliver who coaches for the NBA’s Washington Wizards in the offseason. In fact, the provision was called the “Toliver Provision” on the conference call. It will remove the barriers to her getting properly paid for her work. Hopefully, it will cultivate more women coaches in the NBA and allow players to grow the game in that aspect.