Everything You Need to Know About the WNBA’s Historic New Deal

The WNBA just made history. Earlier this week, the league announced it’s eight-year, groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement, a deal that drives a player-first agenda. The historic move includes a significant salary bump, going from an annual base of $117,500 to $215,000 for top players, maternity leave, bonuses and more career opportunities after basketball.

Here’s what you need to know.

Better Pay

  • It’s a 53% 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.
  • For the first time in history, cash compensation will average nearly $130,000, resulting in an increase for all players.
  • The league’s top players will be able to earn cash compensation in excess of $500,000. This is triple the maximum compensation under the prior deal.
  • Other top players will have an opportunity to earn between $200,000 and $300,000.

Benefits for Mothers

  • Players will receive full salary while on maternity leave, along with an annual stipend of $5,000 for childcare.
  • Nursing mothers will be provided safe and private workplace accommodations.
  • Up to $60,000 reimbursement for veteran players will go into effect to assist them with costs directly related to adoption, surrogacy, oocyte cryopreservation or fertility/infertility treatment.

Quality of Life

  • Players will be provided with enhanced mental health benefits resources, as well as education and counseling as part of a domestic/intimate partner violence program.
  • The WNBA will work to provide off-season job opportunities to help players in their life after basketball and will advance diversity in coaching initiatives for veteran players interested in coaching careers.
  • Athletes will have access to a Nutrition Council and experts in women’s health.
  • Individual hotel rooms for every player during travel along with Premium Economy class status for air travel will be provided.

In addition, the WNBA launched Changemakers, a collective of companies that is designed to directly support the WNBA financially in its transformation across marketing, branding, and player and fan experience. Inaugural Changemakers include AT&T, Deloitte and Nike.

“We have this movement around women’s empowerment. …  [It] is so important to capitalize on all three of those: the moment, the momentum and the movement to drive the league to the next level,” commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.

The new agreement is effective this season and runs through 2027.

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