Why WNBA Players are making less? The Pay Disparity between WNBA and NBA

wnba pay

WNBA and NBA are both identical leagues with a similar sport. But, when it comes to revenues, profits, and salaries, both are poles apart.

Lately, WNBA players are asking for raise in their share of revenue and making it fair for them. The pay fairness lies in the figure and percentages that are somewhat closer to what men are making whilst playing in NBA. The debate on the pay disparity between male and female players playing in NBA and WNBA skyrocketed and heated a lot when Draymond Green shared his thoughts. According to him, the amount of money that WNBA players are making is already more than they deserve. So, instead of complaining, WNBA players should focus on playing.

The Demands of WNBA Players

Nevertheless, we need to hear out what WNBA players are saying and demanding on the issue of pay. Kelsey Plum is a star WNBA player, many of you won’t hear of her, says, “I’m tired of people thinking that (we) players are asking for the same type of money as NBA players … we are asking for the same percentage of revenue shared within our CBA. NBA players receive around 50% of shared revenue within their league, whereas we receive around 20%.”

Well, whether it is about raising salaries or increasing the revenue percentage, either way, it is difficult to pull it off when the league isn’t generating any profit. Giving more money to WNBA players means higher subsidies from their benefactors. So, a focus on getting the league to stand on its own is the way to go first before asking for such rewards.

Little to no Commonalities between WNBA and NBA

Apart from both leagues based on the same sport that is basketball, there isn’t much in common. NBA is more than 75 years old whilst WNBA is hardly 26. So, WNBA has a long way to go before it works out the challenges a league face. The WNBA players want to achieve what their male counterparts achieved in a decades-long struggle.

How about the attendance? The WNBA has an average attendance of 6,535, while NBA’s average attendance is 17,760. The WNBA’s marquee match and the WNBA finals also fail to grab audiences’ attention as it could only amass 400,000 viewers per game. While the NBA finals achieved more than 20 million views per game.

TV viewers love NBA with an average mark of 2 million viewers. But, WNBA has only 246000 viewers during the recent past season.

The size matters

NBA has 30 teams, while WNBA has only 12. As for the tickets, NBA game ticket varies between $51 to $89, while WNBA game ticket is close $20 only.

The Revenue Difference

NBA’s annual revenue is close to $8 billion while WNBA only manages a revenue of $60 million. This leaves the WNBA longing for more money. According to NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, WNBA incurs an average loss of $10 million per year.

So, this brings us back to the equation; the salary gap. What is the average NBA player’s salary? In 2022, it is $8.5 million. While WNBA player has a base salary of a little above $130,000 and an average salary of $116,000. Moreover, WNBA players receive maternity leave at full salary, child care support of more than $5000, and some more medical benefits.

So, the problem lies in WNBA as it fails to produce interest in the public. Moreover, it also fails to deliver on the revenue side which cannot support the pay structure which the WNBA players are demanding. So, no money no honey. WNBA is nascent, it needs to do the catching up before making it big like the NBA.

Aiden J. Miller
I speak, write, discuss, watch, and play basketball. Stick around for the updates and analysis on FIBA and NBA.

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