WNBA Players Could Sit Out Next Season

The WNBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement will expire in October at the end of the league’s season and the players are concerned about the future of the league, as Kimberly Cataudella of Newsday relays.

Liberty’s Tina Charles said that “sitting out the season is always an option.” Other players have echoed that sentiment.

Both sides are optimistic that a deal will be done in time for next season. The WNBA negotiations will focus on the league’s vision for the future as well as pay structure and benefit concerns.

“The reality is that we have to make a living,” WNBA legend Sue Bird said. “We have categories that we have highlighted as a union, areas that we really want to see the change in, and salary is No. 1.”

According to Cataudella, the WNBA’s base salary is about $75,000 and average compensation is $116,000. Players also receive benefits such as insurance and housing.

Average attendance in the WNBA is down and the league lost $12MM in 2018. Last year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that “on average, (the WNBA) has lost over $10MM every year” of existence.

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62 thoughts on “WNBA Players Could Sit Out Next Season

  1. snotrocket

    Why keep subsidizing a business that loses 10 million dollars a year? Doubt anyone would boycott the NBA for dropping the WNBA.

    • The NBA wants to be viewed as a huge contributor to the diversity thing that’s very important in today’s environment. It’s important to Adam Silver and it’s important to the NBA and its players.

      • snotrocket

        I agree that it’s important to Adam Silver, as he seems like a virtue signaling jerk off. I doubt the players care at all.

        • Many of the NBA players follow suit and are on board with the diversity thing. Did you read Kyle korver’s peace in the players Journal? It’s a pretty good read. You should also listen to LeBron James speaker on political issues and things like that. Steve Kerr also. Yep the NBA is totally on board. Gregg Popovich and the uptick in hiring and interviewing, considering women head coaches recently.

          • jorge78

            Then have
            NBA players
            donate one
            percent of
            salaries so
            the ladies
            can have
            a raise.
            Put their
            their mouth

        • mcmillankmm

          Some probably don’t care and some probably do…..You don’t think any NBA players who have daughters care at all?

  2. goldenmisfit

    That funny moment when these delusional WNBA players expecting hikes in salary when the league every year is losing on average $10 million.

  3. TJECK109

    I think for the most part the players have some leverage as most of them could probably make more overseas. If they are losing 10-12mil now I can’t imagine how much they’d lose without some of their marquee players.

  4. If a company or division is performing poorly they cannot increase wages.

    If a company doesn’t make a lot of money, than the company cannot pay its employers that much money.

    These WNBA players need to understand this and take a basic business/economics class.

    Maybe if more people (especially females) were interested in the sports community vs The Kardashians, then these WNBA players can have a higher salary.

    • Averagebro

      That’s stupid. The NBA also subsidizes the G-League which loses money.

      • Slick_oda593

        Not stupid at all. Think a bit here (careful, it may hurt), the G-League ENHANCES the talent that PARTICIPATES in the main league. It breaks in rookies who are barely out of high school and gives veterans a chance to get back in. Your logic is rather, Average.

      • Mike_Davis

        The G league is a development league that allows franchises to develop young players & shuttle the bottom of their roster all season long. The value of doing so outweighs any financial losses.

        Other than virtue signalling, the wnba holds no value to the NBA.

        • IslandFlava

          G league is useless, tell me an all-star or a great player come out of there… maybe a solid roll player but that’s about it. Players can go to play in much better leagues in Europe to develop, there is no need to subsidize the G league, it ain’t better than the WNBA, Averagebro is quite right there.

    • Slick_oda593

      Exactly, women need to step up and put their money and attention where their mouths are. Every celebrity/media outlet talks big about supporting a women’s league, (which I admit can be entertaining), but where are all these demanding people who are pushing US to accept it? They don’t care, they just participate in social conditioning.

  5. Richard Hangslow

    I hope the league finally tells them to F off. The wnba has lost nearly $300m since it’s start.

  6. PhilliesBob1980

    If a tree falls in a forest but no is there to see it, does it make a sound?

  7. hiflew

    The big question is, will anyone notice that there are no WNBA games next year? No offense to the NHL fans out there, but i didn’t really notice when they cancelled an entire season. WNBA players should really think about that. NHL player salaries went down a LOT after that strike. They are never going to make what the guys do, but they can still make less. The WNBA is not popular enough for them to get away with a work stoppage.

  8. hiflew

    “The reality is that we have to make a living,” WNBA legend Sue Bird said.

    For most people $75,000 a year IS A LIVING. It’s that way for more than half the country. The league is not obligated to make these women wealthy. Yes, basketball players are skilled, but if people aren’t paying to watch that skill in action it just won’t pay. I am skilled at gin rummy, but no one is paying to watch me to play it. So I just do it for fun and don’t expect to make a lot of money at it.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Obviously it’s far less than the salaries in the NBA, but I wonder how it compares to what they make in other women’s pro sports like soccer.

      • mcmillankmm

        I’d assume WNBA players make more than Women’s pro soccer…WNBA has to have a greater influx of $$ since they have a TV deal with ESPN and CBS Sports

    • Great points hiflew, and there’s also this:

      the WNBA season is 3 months LOL !! Not a bad salary for a quarter year of work.

    • jump shot

      Its funny when they say they’re “forced” to go overseas and play year ‘round because of the (low) wnba salaries. No, they have an option to go overseas or not go – they aren’t forced. If someone makes $60,000- 115,000 a YEAR working a regular job they aren’t “forced” to get a part-time job.

      • mcmillankmm

        You do realize some of the women make less than that $60k right? Not sure where you’re from, but $60k isn’t exactly wealthy.

        • For a 22 year old kid just out of college $60,000 for 3 months of work is not too shabby.

        • jump shot

          I made almost 60 a month in my prime overseas, so I’m familiar with what $60k feels like. As I said, if you’re making that in 3 months, you’re not forced to go overseas. And the voices speaking out are the ones that are making 6 figures in the wnba and 400+ overseas. Hell, dont play year round then – just play overseas! Relax in the summer instead of playing for “a measly” $45-115k for 4 months.

        • michael n

          $60k for a quarter of the year. They can spend another 3 months overseas and make more money. Seems fine to me. Go to where the money is.

        • hiflew

          Not sure where you are from, but if $60,000 a year is not a living wage, I’d suggest you move someplace cheaper.

        • Slick_oda593

          But most should have some university courses under their belt. An education that was subsidized by their playing basketball in the first place. They are ahead of the game, I had to pay for my BA and MA without a sports scholarship and so did my wife, we turned out fine and making more than $60k. Something tells me these women are smart enough to earn $$$ outside of basketball, unless you know something I don’t.

        • x%sure

          There’s a minimum, I think 75k. I would consider that a big salary. It’s WAY higher than the national average salary and the season is short.

  9. x%sure

    From the link, 90 of 144 WNBA players also play overseas, mostly Russia & Turkey, where salaries are not capped and can be 10 times more. The teams are not assumed to make money.

    If the USWNT (womens US Soccer) wins their lawsuit for equal pay, the NBA should consider shutting down the league. They should never have closed out the independent women’s league years ago.

  10. jump shot

    Would the NCAA Div. III National Champion team beat a team of the 12 best WNBA players?

  11. phillyballers

    I’ve watched more UConn Women’s games last year than WNBA games in the entirety of the league. The latter happens to be 0 games, ever.

  12. jorge78

    $75,000 a year is not enough
    “…to make a living”!!?? Sorry
    Sue Bird, but you are confusing
    making a living with greed.
    That salary puts you in the top
    one percent of all Americans.
    Go cry somewhere else!

      • hiflew

        Or someone is realistic about the wages in this country. And someone like Bird making that much money crying about poverty and living wages should be called out when there are families that have to get by on $30,000 a year or less.

  13. mcmillankmm

    I agree they probably should be making more money…Sue Bird could probably get paid more as an assistant at UConn….however, if the league isn’t making enough money then there isn’t any additional $$$ to go back to the players

  14. mgrap84

    No offense but i just think people really don’t care and its obvious with them losing money every year and low attendance. Hell i never know when they play and when i see highlights its not entertaining. I think they should keep the league but a pay increase is just stupid when your league isn’t bringing in enough money. At the rate its going, the WNBA will end up shutting down.

  15. Averagebro

    Wow, so many easily triggered galaxy brains in here. Why are some of you so butthurt about a league you swear you don’t watch?

    The league doesn’t need to make money. It’s sole objective is giving NBA team owners more traffic in their arenas that would otherwise be empty during the summer. The league’s best players need to be paid more, these women compete hard and the quality of play is good. Attendance dropped because many teams have moved to smaller venues this year for various reasons. DC built the Mystics their own 4000 seat arena that’s packed every night. NY moved to Westchester and Seattle is displaced by the Key Arena renovation.

    For those whining that the league loses money, why do you care? It’s not your money. The G League and plenty of minor league baseball teams lose money too. Hell, plenty of MLB, NBA and NHL teams lose money.

    But it’s only a problem when the ladies are involved?

    I hope y’all don’t have daughters. Seriously.

    • jump shot

      To one of your points, nba owners thought it would be great to have people in the empty arenas in the summer – until they realized they were actually losing money having their gym used by a wnba team. They thought it was a no-brainer that they’d make money or break even. When they saw it was the opposite, most owners folded their teams or sold them to local investors. Hardly any of the teams are owned by the “parent” nba team anymore. And, those local owners aren’t billionaires like nba owners and cant afford massive upgrades to the ladie’s salaries. They’ll fold their hands and push away from the table. Not because they dont want to pay, but because they cant.

  16. Buckman

    Chandler Parsons made 24 million for 500 minutes of game time. Perspective! Anyways, 10 mil doesn’t seem like much in the scheme of things for the opportunity, advertising and just over goodwill it creates. Crossover works two ways and, sure, maybe not a lot of NBA fans watch WNBA but what about the reverse, how many started by watching WNBA and then transitioned to NBA as well. Getting back to Parsons, there is a lot of questionable contracts made by teams and players and 10 mil doesn’t seem like that big of a deal for a whole league.

    • i think there is probably very few that started watching the WNBA then transitioned to the NBA as most in the WNBA grew up watching NBA.

  17. dust44

    I’m a huge supporter of the WNBA. I was actually a women’s college basketball official. But, for anyone making 6 figures to complain about making a living when the company u work for is consistently in the red. U should reevaluate your priorities. Give me that 116k average salary to play a sport plus housing and insurance. I won’t complain or sit out. Maybe instead of sitting out the season get out more and get the fans to come to the games. Go out and hand out tickets to schools. Go find girls aau teams and hangout with them. Something other then sitting out a season. Find a solution instead of a lock out. I will never support a lock out from any sport. The money these athletes make to play a kids game for a living and complain drives me crazy. I also played college basketball and trust me when I say this. I was never hungry. Or never didn’t get what I needed from the university legally. All this talk about money in sports drives me crazy. Go sign endorsement deals for the extra money. There’s always a company willing to pay to put ur face on there product. Even if u don’t believe in the product (if it’s about “making a living”)

  18. michael n

    Hey WNBA check out the other pro female leagues like Soccer, Football and Baseball. Hell the women’s hockey league is about to get shut down. Be happy you even earn a decent living wage compared to other leagues most of those players still live at home.

  19. billbertolotti

    The bottom line is whoever is funding the league needs to determine if pro outweighs con. Is the social impact enough in their mind to outpace the hemorrhage of money they will continue to do it regardless of viewership or interest. That is the world we live in. There are plenty of businesses that carry bad investments just as write-offs against their better performing investments. Sounds like capitalism…funny though…not sure that would fit the social narrative

  20. fungie22

    Agreed that it’s the right thing to do from a diversity standpoint. But who is going to keep throwing money at a losing business?

    • IslandFlava

      Come on guys NBA makes billions of $ every year, loosing 10 Million is just small change, they can’t even notice it…. so no need to make such a fuss, right?

  21. Here is a crazy thought, allow the WNBA be self run.

    Allow their owners / players / sponsors to pay for their release with their connection from the NBA. If the NBA is losing money and subsidizing so much of it i have a feeling it might be just a pr move from them and allow them to leave freely.

    Offer up the WNBA to use some of the NBA distribution channels for tv deals and advertising for a short while to get themselves on their feet while paying a fee to the NBA (percent off the top or maybe flat dollar). This will keep the overall status quo and most operations intact while the transition happens. Then the WNBA will have the ability to control their own contracts, rules, and ceiling which they must think its higher since they make more overseas.

    This is a straight business move without taking much of a pr hit i think. I welcome thoughts on this but i think this is best for both worlds especially if the WNBA believes they are worth more than their current status.

  22. x%sure

    Cesc & Buckman have a good point, approaching the WNBA as a useful expense, not really a huge one by its standards. They’re already paying $10MM+, presumably happily. They get the credit for supporting women’s sports, and maybe some new customers sliding over from the women’s game.

    But with a union shutdown action, and players who can wait it out in Europe or China, the pressure will be what their subsidizing number is. How much more? Is sponsorship worth it if labor strife goes public and the NBA becomes mean overlords instead of enablers?

    The NBA did not establish a women’s league until the ABL, an independent league, was begun in 1996. The NBA then made sure their WNBA got enough subsidies to win out and shut down the ABL. It was sudden & suspicious. I resented that because the Columbus franchise with Valerie Still, Katie Smith & quick guards was the ABL’s best team! Argh

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