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Thread: Disparity in Salaries between WNBA and NBA

  1. #1
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    Default Disparity in Salaries between WNBA and NBA

    The topic of the disparity in salaries between the WNBA and the NBA have been raised numerous times on this board. With LeBron's latest contract, the issue has once again, been raised by several players in the WNBA. Here is an interesting article from the Seattle Times discussing this issue.

    Matt Calkins: More money would be good, but WNBA-NBA wage gap is about economics, not gender
    Thu., July 19, 2018, 3:39 p.m.
    By Matt Calkins
    Seattle Times

    SEATTLE – It’s been a while since I talked to Kelsey Plum, the former Husky who’s as entertaining an interview as she is a basketball player. Her candor is almost as impressive as her talent, which always made postgame exchanges fun. But if I did have a chance to talk to the all-time NCAA women’s scoring leader, these are the first questions I’d ask: Are you sure you’re being treated unfairly? And if so, what would you be willing to do to change that?

    If you haven’t heard, Plum griped recently that WNBA players get only around 20 percent of the league’s revenue, whereas their NBA counterparts get 50. Thinking the league might have more money than it lets on, Kelsey also wants WNBA owners to open their books. This comes on the heels of her Las Vegas Aces teammate, A’ja Wilson, complaining about the WNBA and NBA wage gap after LeBron James signed a $154 million contract with the Lakers. “If the WNBA is always losing money, and if the WNBA is in the red, why do we keep it around?” Plum asked on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk. One more question for Kelsey: Do you really want to ask something like that?

    Let’s back up for a second. In my three years in Seattle, there is no local athlete I’ve enjoyed watching more than Plum. The Final Four run her Huskies made was the most pleasant sports surprise this town has seen all decade, and the crowd sizes they spawned the next year broke records. I also think female athletes have been cheated pay-wise in the past, particularly in tennis. During part of the Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert era, the women’s game was more popular than the men’s, and yet the women still earned less. But the WNBA isn’t the WTA Tour. And it certainly isn’t the NBA. Want to compare league revenues? The NBA generated $7.4 billion in 2016-17, according to Forbes, which is likely more than 100 times that of the WNBA.

    We know ESPN is paying the WNBA $25 million to broadcast some of its games. And a recent Forbes article estimated that, based on average attendances and minimum ticket prices, the 12-team league is bringing in at least $27 million annually at the gate. There are also sponsors on jerseys, a WNBA league pass and a reported deal with Twitter. But does that mean the league is profitable? Plum thinks that, based on the size of the crowds, it must be. But according to a New York Times story from two years ago, half of the league’s teams were losing money. There are overhead costs to consider, right? There is rent for the building, hotel bills and, of course, flights – which aren’t always pleasant. The 22-year-old WNBA doesn’t allow teams to charter flights because not all of them can afford to do so. According to The Indianapolis Star last year, two chartered flights would cost as much as an entire season of commercial travel.

    Said Indiana Fever general manager Kelly Krauskopf on the prospect of chartering: “It’s not even close to being feasible.”

    What would she say about more than doubling her players’ salaries?

    Listen, I like the WNBA. It’s quality basketball that, in Seattle at least, is played in front of 8,000-fan crowds that will bruise your eardrums. I also like employees asking for transparency. If she thinks WNBA owners are hiding something, good for Plum for calling them out. You won’t get progress any other way. And I especially like seeing female athletes cash fat checks. During her UFC heyday, Ronda Rousey would earn more than anybody on the card, and for good reason – she was the biggest draw. But when it comes to compensation, we can’t compare males to females for its own sake. We can compare only business to business, revenue to revenue, profit to profit. There’s a word for that: fair.

    I’d love to see a day when WNBA games are selling out major arenas and drawing double-digit TV ratings. But we’re not even close to there yet.
    I’d also roast the WNBA if it were true that owners were taking advantage of their players, whose median salary is estimated to be just over $70k for the five-month season. But I’m not sure they are. Dissenting voices are necessary for change, and players such as Plum and Wilson are providing them. The league’s all-time leading scorer, Diana Taurasi, even chimed in earlier in the week, saying a strike is the only way for players to get their desired wages.
    “Last time I checked, the NBA has had a strike, the NHL has had a strike, and they have millions to lose,” Taurasi told reporters. “So if we’re not willing to lose everything as players, we really don’t have much to gain.”

    It’s true that you get only what you negotiate. And to increase their pay, players will have to fight. But on behalf of WNBA fans everywhere, I just ask that you make sure the fight is warranted.

    Article Link: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/201...-but-wnba-nba/

    So fellow Lady Zag supporters, what to you have to say?

    ZagDad

  2. #2
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    This weekend the WNBA held its annual all-star game. The WNBA players took time out of their weekend to meet with their union concerning the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). While the current CBA is valid until 2021, either side can opt out after next year. However, if a side is going to opt out after next year they must notify all parties by October 31, 2018 which is just around the corner.

    Here is an current ESPN article discussing the issues the ladies have with the current CBA, the difficulty the teams have in meeting the players demands and some discussion on the current state of women's basketball overseas.

    Article Link: http://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/...-complex-think

    ZagDad

  3. #3
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    The WNBA's leading scorer and 2nd in rebounding, Liz Cambage, yesterday said her return to the WNBA in 2019 is still up in the air. Cambage currently leads the league in scoring at 22.8 points per game and is second in rebounding with 9.7 per game. She made history earlier this season when she broke the WNBA single-game scoring record by tallying 53 points against the New York Liberty on July 17. Here are a couple of Liz's comments after her game last night:

    "I've said this many times: [The WNBA] doesn't pay my bills ... playing here doesn't pay my bills," Cambage said. "We make more money overseas. I'm ready to have next summer off and focus on getting a European contract where its 10 seasons here worth the pay."
    "It sucks because I love to be here, I love to put the game out there, I love what comes with playing here. But at the end of the day, for my longevity, I worry about my body, my mind and my soul. I really don't get paid enough to be beaten up every game. I'm not a WWE wrestler and that's how it feels sometimes out on the court."
    Here is a link to the entire article from ESPN:

    Article Link: http://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/...a-2019-the-air

    ZagDad

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