Advertisement

WNBA's 8-year labor deal to hike average salary to $130,000

Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, left, fouls Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker during the second half of a WNBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. Photo: (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, left, fouls Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker during the second half of a WNBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019.

Updated: January 15, 2020 05:52 PM

The WNBA and its union announced a tentative eight-year labor deal Tuesday that will allow top players to earn more than $500,000 while the average annual compensation will surpass six figures for the first time.

The contract, which begins this season and runs through 2027, will pay players an average of $130,000 and guarantees full salaries while on maternity leave. The agreement also provides enhanced family benefits, travel standards and other health and wellness improvements.

Advertisement

"I call it historic," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a phone interview. "The CBA guarantees substantial (financial) increases. The way we are paying these players is different than the past. ... The top couple players are tripling (in pay) where they were. Other players are making $200,000-300,000. The average will be over $130,000. Everyone gets an increase here."

The deal, which must be ratified by owners and players, calls for 50-50 revenue sharing starting in 2021, based on the league achieving revenue growth targets from broadcast agreements, marketing partnerships and licensing deals.

The league will also expand its schedule by a few games and add an in-season Commissioner's Cup tournament this year. Other highlights of the CBA include:

—Travel improvements where players are given premium economy airline tickets as well as individual rooms on road trips. In the past, players flew coach and some shared rooms.

—A more liberal free agency system that allows players to become unrestricted free agents sooner beginning next year if they aren't given the "core" designation by their team. It also drops the number of times a player can be so designated from four to three beginning this year and down to two beginning in 2022.

—Players receive their full salary while on maternity leave, are given two-bedroom apartments for players with children as well as workplace accommodations that provide privacy for nursing mothers.

—The league is also introducing family planning benefits of up to a $60,000 reimbursement for veteran players for costs directly related to adoption, surrogacy and fertility treatment.

—Enhanced mental health benefits and resources.

Connect with KSTP


Join the conversation on our social media platforms. Share your comments on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Advertisement

Work group to go over Minneapolis charter amendment proposal amid police reform discussions

5 INVESTIGATES: Juul recruited U of M researcher as vaping controversy intensified

Semi blocks portion of road in Edina following crash

Lois Riess to make first appearance in Minnesota court

Police: 12-year-old shot in Minneapolis following road rage incident

Private schools, law firms among biggest PPP loan recipients in Minnesota

Advertisement