WNBA and WNBPA Reach Groundbreaking 8-Year CBA

Photo: Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire

On January 14, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) announced that they have reached an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The agreement is pending ratification by the players and the league’s Board of Governers, as per the official release on the WNBA website.

The agreement will run from the 2020 season, until the 2027 campaign. The main talking point is that the deal includes a 53% in player salaries.

“Foremost among the deal terms is a 53 percent increase in total cash compensation, consisting of base salary, additional performance bonuses, prize pools for newly created in-season competitions, and league and team marketing deals. Under the new CBA, the league’s top players will be able to earn cash compensation in excess of $500,000, representing a more than tripling of the maximum compensation under the prior deal.  Other top players will have an opportunity to earn between $200,000 and $300,000.  And for the first time in WNBA history, the average cash compensation for players will exceed six figures, averaging nearly $130,000, resulting in an increase for all players from rookies to veterans.” – WNBA Official Release.

In addition, ESPN have revealed that the 2020 WNBA salary cap will be raised to $1.3 million. Up from $996,100 in 2019.

A minimum of $1.6 million in offseason “league and team marketing agreements” is also highlighted in the agreement. Described as creating up to $300,000 in additional income for select players. This will most likely be an attempt to reduce the amount of WNBA players that jump overseas in the offseason, in an attempt to earn extra money. In most cases, more money than they do in the WNBA itself.

Included is a new 50-50 revenue sharing agreement, commencing in 2021. This is on the proviso that the league meet targets from broadcasting, marketing partnerships, and licensing.

Other elements to the agreement are a more “liberal” free-agency system, improvements in travel and accommodation, motherhood/family planning, and career development.

“We approached these negotiations with a player-first agenda, and I am pleased that this agreement guarantees substantial increases in compensation and progressive benefits for the women of the WNBA” – WNBA Commissioner, Cathy Engelbert. 

“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.”WNBPA President, Nneka Ogwumike.

You can view the full official release from the WNBA here.