May 16, 2022

Is There Salary Inequality In The WNBA Compared To The NBA?

Giving a reason to try to explain the economic gap between the WNBA and the NBA would sound like a pretext. You can list several reasons why men earn more than women in sports, particularly in US basketball (Leagues that concern us) and they would all be unfair.

From the generation of income between one League and another: Sponsorships, marketing, the greater exposure that men have to women in the media, the achievements at the national team and a soulless etcetera that would make anyone regret; however, in the middle of 2022 it is. An example?

Diana Taurasithe famous female ‘Jordan’ is one of the highest paid players in the WNBA and earns 0.5% of what the highest paid basketball player in the NBA earns, Stephen Curry.

Let’s translate this disparity into numbers…

In this 2022, Taurasi, 40, will finish a two-year contract with the Phoenix Mercury for 450 thousand dollars. In his first season, he earned $221,000 and $228,000 for his second, while Curry became the highest-paid player in the NBA in 2021 with a $43 million-a-year contract.

And yes, there will be those who argue that Curry is the best player or the greatest triple in the NBA, ok! Taurasi led the Mercury to titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014, isn’t that enough? Well, she’s also the WNBA’s all-time points leader.

Sportingly speaking, there seems to be no excuses for the difference between male and female salaries; Now, there are arguments to understand this situation that, without a doubt, with the passage of time and the development of the WNBA tend to (or should) improve.

According to the Georgia Pro Information Center, only 1% of female college basketball players make it to professional women’s basketball. So, the more professional players there are, the greater the number of franchises that are established in the WNBA and therefore, the greater the interest from different markets; then the interest of the sponsors and the public, two fundamental parties for the collection of dollars, will be more active. It seems like a simple chain, but the virtuous circle, which is vicious for now, can be completed in favor of women who choose basketball as their professional activity or as an important part of it.

Let us remember that the WNBA currently has 12 teams, since it is a relatively new League. It was created on April 22, 1996 with eight franchises and its first game was in 1997.

(Another) limitation that women face in making the leap to professionalism is that they are required to have a 4-year college degree or wait the same amount of time out of high school to enter the WNBA. That doesn’t happen in the NBA, where players can make the leap from high school to pro.

To more clearly land this gap here is some useful information:

  • In 2020, the median salary in the NBA was $6.4 million while in the WNBA the maximum salary was $215,000.

The difference is abysmal; however, the WNBA will not remain oblivious to changes in pursuit of equality, in this case economic; Other athletes have already achieved what seemed impossible, such as the United States Women’s Soccer Team, which on February 22 won a lawsuit to receive from US Soccer the same salary as the men’s team in all friendlies and tournaments, including the Copa del Rey. World.

“An important step to correct the many mistakes of the past,” said the players’ union, the USWNTPA (for its acronym in English), in what was one of the first and strongest steps in favor of equality.

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Is There Salary Inequality In The WNBA Compared To The NBA?