For those of you who are not aware the WNBA is currently finishing up year 22. The league currently is in the middle of playoffs, and what an exciting playoff it has been. There are 12 teams in the league, and out of 12 teams, 8 make the playoffs with the first two rounds being single-game elimination. From there the series become best out of 3, and finally, the finals are best out of 5.
This format has made the playoffs exciting, especially this season. With two Perennial powers the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks meeting in the first round. These two teams have combined to win the last 3 championships with the Lynx winning 3 titles over the last 5 years.
Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury has elevated her play and is showing why she is considered the greatest of all time. A young superstar Breanna Stweart who won her first MVP this season has her team the Seattle Storm on the cusp of heading to the finals. On the other side of the bracket, you have the Atlanta Dream and the Washington Mystics locked in an exciting battle.
By the way, the WNBA seeds the teams best on record and reseeds them after every round. Doing away with playoff seeding by conference this ensures that the best teams make the playoffs. Something the NBA should do as well.
More than ever you hear how the WNBA is more popular than ever. Attendance is up across the league and the WNBA is now being seen as a successful viable business. The issue of wage equality has come to the forefront more than ever this season. According to Nancy Lough of the Conversation in her article “ The case for boosting WNBA player salaries,” the average WNBA salary is $75’000 and the maximum WNBA salary is $113’000. She goes on to write that the players pay accounts for only 22% of the revenue, while the NBA players get a share of 50% of the leagues' revenue, with an average salary of $838’000. What this means that many of the WNBA players play year around to even have a shot at matching the NBA’s average yearly salary.
What do all these numbers mean? Should the salaries of WNBA players match that of the NBA players? Of course, not the NBA’s revenue is in the billions of dollars including a 24 billion dollar tv deal. Only a few WNBA franchises are in the black with several still losing money.
So where are the raises going to come from? For the players to only be receiving 22% of revenue is incredibly low. Although they should not match the NBA’s players avg salary, because this is still a business that exists in a capitalistic system, their salaries should be raised. I would make the average salary $250’000 and pay a max salary of $500’000. This coming fall they will have the option to terminate and negotiate a new contract, and I am welling to bet they will excerise this option and terminate the contract. So they can negoiate a larger salary structure.
The main issue that people do not want to talk about, is that female sports are not supported the same as male supports in this country. Many of the WNBA players play oversea’s and sign more lucrative contracts in other countries. For example superstars like Diana Taurasi, Cadance Parker, Tina Charles, etc. earn millions of dollars playing overseas. Women sports are a bigger deal in these other countries. It is really a shame because I personally treat the WNBA the same as the NBA. If there is a great matchup or good game on I am tuning in to watch. If the game is not good I might leave it on as background noise, but more than likely I am going to turn to watch something else. I realize I am in the minority because I love the game of basketball and I actually learned the game from my mom and her friends. I respect the skill and the hard work that these women put in.
It is my opinion that ultimately most men do not respect the skill and hard work. Most men will not tune in to watch for silly reasons like they do not dunk routinely, or the pace of the game is to slow. These playoffs have proven that if you tune into these games you would see some exciting, thrilling, fast pace basketball being played at a high level. The women’s game mirrors the men’s game with court spacing, three-point shooting and post players with the same versatile skill sets just like their male counterparts.
Bottom line things are changing for the better for women in this country, but we still have a long way to go when it comes to the wage gap between men and women. Things do not always have to be equal especially in business and capitalism, but it has to at least be fair. I would contend that the treatment of WNBA players have not been fair, and they should be treated like what they are and that is PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS.