If the players and the WNBA Board of Governors OK the eight-year labor deal, known as the collective bargaining agreement, it will take effect this season and run through 2027.
The deal, according to Nneka Ogwumike, president of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, not only improves working conditions, but it also marks a progressive business model “with strategic planning and intentional marketing that will keep the WNBA front and center year-round.”
Foremost for many players will be the bag, which will represent a 53% increase in total compensation, a figure derived from salary, performance bonuses, prize money for “newly created in-season competitions” and marketing deals, according to the proposed CBA.
Lesser stars will also see a bump in pay, to between $200,000 and $300,000, while the average compensation will be almost $130,000.
Mothers, posher travel and more cash
The proposed CBA announced Tuesday isn’t all about the money, however.
Indicative of the WNBA’s appreciation of its players’ distinctive needs, the CBA also includes maternity leave with full salary, an annual childcare stipend of $5,000, two-bedroom apartments for players with children, workplace accommodations for nursing mothers and, for veteran players, reimbursement of up to $60,000 in adoption, surrogacy or fertility treatment costs.
New rules would permit players to enter free agency more frequently — meaning more competitive salaries, as they’ll learn what other teams believe they’re worth — and limit how often a team can keep its hoopsters out of free agency by designating them “core” players.
A 50-50 revenue sharing agreement promises to bolster parity in the league, prizes for honors like league MVP and Rookie of the Year will increase and there will be new cash bonuses for honors such as making the All-Defensive First Team, the prospective agreement says.
“With cautious optimism and trusting the league’s renewed commitment and investment, the players demonstrated a willingness to ‘lean in’ themselves and show an even greater commitment and investment in the W,” WNBPA Executive Director Terri Jackson said.
CNN’s Wayne Sterling contributed to this report.