Is the Women’s National Basketball Association Disappearing?

1389 words (6 pages) Essay in Sports

18/05/20 Sports Reference this

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Female basketball players in the WNBA are being paid way less than NBA referees and NBA benchwarmers. WNBA players should be paid as much as NBA players because the league could end, WNBA players work harder at times, and equality. However, others might say that the WNBA is not very popular, considered to be in the shadows of male basketball games.

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WNBA players should be paid as much as NBA players because the league might end if they do not get paid more money. WNBA players are getting paid more money overseas in other countries. In an article that followed the all-star WNBA player Seimone Augustus to Russia, she talks about the stress of moving to a totally different country. Right after the WNBA season ends, the Russian league starts, and when the Russian league ends, the WNBA season begins. “The maximum WNBA salary is $109,000, while in Russia, the median American salary is $350,000” (Vice Sports, 1). So,  players are faced with a difficult decision. This is seen when Seimone Augustus says in an interview, “It’s getting to a point when the older players are just like do we play for the pride and joy and the fact that my family and friends can see me play here in the states or do I go and get this money” (Vice Sports, 1).  The reason they pay more in Russia is that rich owners are willing to fork over a lot of money, so that the owner can construct a franchise that can win a championship. The rationale behind a player’s choice to play overseas rather than in the WNBA and not both is that they pay more and instead of playing year-round they could rest while the WNBA season is taking place and they wouldn’t have to worry too much financially. If the league was to end, that would end the dream that women could also be a professional basketball player and the players could lead young women to a path of college and professional careers. As Alana Glass says in her article, “ They inspire us to reach higher and dream bigger, which unquestionably embodies the mission of the WNBA, showing the world what is possible.” (Glass, 1). A solution should be trying to pay the players because they deserve the money for the positive influence they have on today’s youth.

Another reason WNBA players should get paid as much as NBA players is because, at times, they work considerably harder than NBA players. The drastic difference between an all-star WNBA player’s salary and an NBA rookie’s salary shows this. Candace Parker is a McDonald’s All American, WNBA Rookie of the Year, a 5- time WNBAll-Star, 2- time WNBA MVP, WNBA Finals MVP, WNBA Champ, etc. She averages 17.5 PPG, 1.7 BPG, 1.4 SPG, and 8.7 RPG (points per game, block per game, steals per game, and rebound per game respectively) and gets paid $113,500 per year. While Parker was gaining these achievements, Deandre Ayton was only a McDonald’s All American and All NBA Rookie First Team. He averages 16.3 PPG, .9 BPG, .9 SPG, and 10.3 RPG and he already got paid $8,175,840 per year. Candace has been grinding for 11 years playing in the WNBA, accomplishing what only a handful of people dream of doing, while Deandre just got drafted into the league and has not done anything notable nor has he proven himself as an elite top tier player and yet he gets paid 72 times more than Candace. In an article, it says, “Some WNBA players have a higher skill level than NBA players. Women have to work harder and better to develop their skill level to get the same respect as men do.” (Nala, 1). Again, Candace worked non-stop for 11 years year-round, earned better stats, and yet, she gets paid significantly less than an NBA rookie who has not done anything in the league in comparison.

With that being said, WNBA players should be paid as much as NBA players because of equality. WNBA players are forced to play overseas to even come close to what NBA players make; WNBA players make around $100k in a year and NBA superstar Steph Curry makes $34.6 million a year. In an interview done by TMV,  Angel McCoughtry said, “ Pay us like you pay the men. I don’t want to get paid more overseas. I want to get paid in my country.” (TMZ, 1). WNBA players feel like they are not being treated equally because of the amount they are being paid. WNBA players like her do not want to leave the country for months to earn enough money to survive financially. They have to be away from loved ones, special occasions, and home, they miss all those things when they have to leave because the league doesn’t pay enough.  

On the other hand, some people might say that WNBA players should not make as much as NBA players because the league isn’t as popular as the NBA. Since the league isn’t too popular that means that the league won’t make as much money. The NBA and WNBA pay their players based on the amount of revenue they produce, but the NBA pays their players 50% of its revenue while the WNBA pays 25%. The NBA made about $7.4 billion in revenue during the 2018-2019 season, and that was 25% more than in 2017. The average attendance for is past year was around 18,000 people per game, the average amount for a ticket was $55.88, and they also have a patch program. The patch program is when a company sponsors a basketball team like how the Houston Rockets are sponsored by Rokit so, on the Rockets jerseys, they have a logo of the company in the top left of the jersey. Through the use of this program with the companies, the NBA has garnered more than $150 million. The WNBA made about $51.5 million in revenue, and ESPN pays the WNBA $25 million to broadcast some of their games.  The average attendance for the 2018-2019 WNBA season is around 7,000, the average cost for a ticket is $17.42, but other than that, the WNBA doesn’t have any programs to help raise the revenue. Therefore, from all these numbers, it’s understandable why others believe why WNBA players shouldn’t make as much as NBA players because they aren’t as popular so they don’t produce a lot of revenue and since the players get paid in revenue they shouldn’t get paid a lot of money. Relatively speaking WNBA players are being overpaid compared to what people want to watch.

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People should try to be engaged with the WNBA so that they can have a good time and to help increase revenue. Recently, NBA all-stars Chris Paul, Lebron James, and Russel Westbrook went to the LA Aces v.s New York Liberty game to show their support for the WNBA players and maybe more people should too. WNBA players should be paid as much as NBA players because no one wants to see the WNBA end, the players deserve the money because of the hard work they put out on the court, and equality. However, one might say the WNBA isn’t popular enough, but people should give the WNBA a shot.

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