The NBA has shown more investment in the NBA G-League than their sister league in the WNBA, who is going through growing pains with salary wages and other working conditions.
It was announced by the NBA that the G-League will now offer “Select Contracts” that are worth $125,000 to prospects who are at least 18 years old that are not eligible to enter the NBA Draft. Granted this is a good substitute for players who have aspirations of making it to the league, this investment made by the NBA is raising eyebrows from WNBA players and supporters alike.
Many WNBA players have already expressed their displeasure this past season with the wage gap and many supporters have also looked towards the NBA to step in to help the league with improving their salary cap and other working conditions.
When this news about the NBA putting this plan into place to help prospects develop to reach the highest level of basketball, many saw this as saying that the league would do this, but not help their sister league that has players who are fully developed with their financial issues.
In comparison to the NBA, the WNBA’s season only spans from the end of May to the middle of September then some players have to go overseas in the off-season. For some players going overseas, it can take a toll on them going into the regular season, but they do so because of the better pay that they receive from the overseas ball clubs.
If the wages in the WNBA were better, players would not have to rely on playing overseas.
This announcement is turning many heads due to the fact that young players may be making a bit more than the WNBA’s top players. Breanna Stewart, who is the league’s reigning MVP is only getting paid $64,583 next season while a player who decided not to play in college will make more money than her.
Diana Taurasi, Olympian and three-time WNBA champion, plays night in and out at a high level, but will make less yearly than a G-League player.
With players like Taurasi and Stewart playing at a high level every night for their teams, one would think that there would be an investment in the players whose product is very palatable and entertaining. Instead, the NBA is choosing to extend their help to a group of players in which some may not make it to the NBA stage.
These WNBA players are deserving of getting something in return for putting their bodies on the line every night.
Another difference between these two entities is that there is a need for building up viewership of the WNBA and growing the game while this G-League announcement allows the NBA to compete with the NCAA as it is an alternative option for players to have the possible opportunity to make it to the league.
The WNBA endured some viewership woes throughout this last season with some of their ESPN broadcasted games being on ESPN News, an ESPN channel that not many people have in their cable packages. Though viewership overall this season was higher than recent years, there were still some instances in which the NBA’s assistance was needed.
For some, it was hard to find the first game of the 2018 WNBA Finals on television due to it being played on ESPN News. ESPN also mistakenly used Liberty University’s logo on its WNBA All-Star graphic for the New York Liberty’s Tina Charles. Those miscues and much more are also spoken on by the league’s stars and many supporters when it comes to the lack of effort in with marketing and media attention.
With an investment by the NBA to help the WNBA, the cross-promotion will help viewership grow as that will trickle down into the revenue which is a huge piece of the revenue pie so that will move the needle in how much wages that is allotted for the players.
As players are pushed the play overseas due to the salary concern and other implications, more and more of them will come together and address the problem to come to a solution that is best for themselves and the league. The players now have a case in the G-League players making more money than them to fight for better wages to fix the salary gap.