WNBA and players' union agree to landmark deal

Kia Nurse

The WNBA and WNBPA announced on Tuesday morning their agreement on a landmark eight-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that will improve pay, benefits, and resources.

Compared to the National Basketball Association, which splits its revenue in half with the men's players, women on the WNBA now earn just 20 to 30 percent of league revenue, according to The New York Times.

The new CBA proposes what the league said is a 53% increase in total cash compensation, which consists of salary, additional performance bonuses, prize pools for newly created in-season competitions and league and team marketing deals. The deal will allow the league's top players to earn cash compensation up to half a million dollars. Under this agreement, the league's annual base salary will increase to an average of $130,000, with top players having the opportunity to make up to $500,000 according to ESPN. She also notes that the salary cap for each team will rise by 30% as well.

"We address these negotiations with a first-player agenda, and I am pleased that this agreement guarantees substantial increases in compensation and progressive benefits for WNBA women", said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert as part of a statement from league press. Additionally, players will be guaranteed full salaries while on maternity leave, are given two-bedroom apartments for players with children, as well as workplace accommodations that provide privacy for nursing mothers. Players are no longer allowed to miss the early games of the season, or even training camp, for overseas duties - unless it's for national team play, or the player has played three or more seasons in the WNBA. Players will also move to premium economy class on regular-season flights.

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The new CBA operates from 2020 to 2027 with a provision of mutual exclusion after six years. WNBA Players Association president Nneka Ogwumike, a forward for the LA Sparks, added, "We wanted to leave a legacy".

We have seen the league's social media push to show the women as more than just players, but also their personality, families, fashion, and other aspects of their lives to connect them with fans as a player and as a person.

The WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert expressed her emotion to the new agreement. Players will also receive a $5,000 stipend for childcare. The top couple players are tripling (in pay) where they were. WNBA members who want to begin a family by exploring alternative family planning methods will be reimbursed up to $60,000 for fees relating to adoption, surrogacy, freezing eggs for later use or other fertility treatments. Specifically, players who complete the playing services called for in their contract and have five or more years of service will become unrestricted free agents (if they are designated as a "Core" player). Last March, the US Women's Soccer Team sued US Soccer for gender discrimination, alleging that "the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts".

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