The WNBA and WNBPA has come to a “tentative” terms on a new eight-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. The two entities have been at the negotiating table for quite some time looking for a middle ground on key factors that plagued the league. Factors including salary, travel, player experience and quality of life.
The new agreement is set to start the 2020 season and run through the end of 2027. The primary focus was to provide a significant increase to player salary and compensation and improve the overall experience of the players. It is no secret that the salaries of WNBA players were vastly lower than that of their NBA counterparts. In order to mitigate this, the league and teams have agreed to notable investments and a new commitment to developing and implementing a marketing strategy league wide.
Regarding compensation, a reported increase of around 53 percent is expected, consisting of cash compensation, base salary, performance bonuses, etc. In an interview at the ESPNW Women + Sports Summit, Nneka Ogwumike (President of WNBPA), mentioned that some sort of investment from the league and teams was going to be the driving force of negotiations. With the ideal outcome being a closer to 50/50 split in revenue sharing. Ogwunmike achieved just that with potential compensation reaching more than half a million dollars for top players in the league. In addition, the average cash compensation for players will be over $100K, marking the first time in WNBA history.
Other notable changes brough by the new CBA, is the emphasis on player experience. Travel will now be premium economy class for all players for regular- season travel, individual hotel room accommodations for every player and an ongoing Player Advisory Panel, to address travel concerns as they arise. In addition, family planning was addressed in the new CBA. During maternity leave players will receive full salary, childcare stipend is now $5,000 annually, players with children will be have access to two-bedroom apartments during the season, workplace accommodations for nursing mothers and up to $60K in reimbursement accessible to veteran players for costs directly related to adoption, surrogacy treatment, etc.
Free agency has changed as well, players can become unrestricted a year earlier and the number of times a player can be designated as a “Core” player (like a franchise tag). Lastly, the WNBA will provide more career development assistance by working with affiliated leagues and teams to provide off-season job opportunities. Intensified approach to mental health benefits and other resources to target player health on all levels.
The new CBA is one of the more player-focused agreement and has taken tremendous steps in setting the bar for the term “Collective”. To read more about the new agreement visit the full breakdown on the WNBA website.