The WNBA is making strides to improve the salary and overall career of its players.
The league and the players union have finalized the terms of a new eight-year collective bargaining agreement. Under this agreement, the league’s annual base salary will increase to an average of $130,000, with top players having the opportunity to make up to $500,000 according to ESPN. The agreement will remain in place for eight years, from the 2020 through 2027 seasons, with a mutual opt-out provision after six years.
Aside from salary increases, this agreement will also include improvements to player travel, changes to free agency policy, additional motherhood, and family-planning benefits, which includes full salaries for players while on maternity leave.
In addition, the agreement will allocate $1.6 million in offseason league and team marketing agreements, that could potentially provide up to $300,000 in additional annual cash compensation for select players, according to Chron.com
The WNBA has long been criticized for its players’ annual salaries, which are extraordinarily low compared to that of NBA players.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert applauded the athletes in the all women’s professional basketball league for helping bring about change in the league.
“We believe it’s a groundbreaking and historic deal. I’m proud of the players; they bargained hard, they unified, they brought attention to so many important topics.”