The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is a professional basketball league in the United States. It is currently composed of twelve teams. The league was founded on April 22, 1996, as the women’s counterpart to the National Basketball Association (NBA), and league play started in 1997. The regular season is played from May to September, with the All Star game being played midway through the season in July (except in Olympic years) and the WNBA Finals at the end of September until the beginning of October.
How is WNBA different from NBA?
The WNBA game was founded on April 24, 1996, and the first season began in 1997. The 2021 season marked the 25th in league history. The NBA has been around much longer after being founded on June 6, 1946.
The draft rules are quite different in both leagues. The WNBA score requires players to be at least 22 years old, complete their college eligibility, graduate from a four-year college or be four years removed from high school. The NBA requires its players to be 19 years old during the draft calendar year, and at least one season has passed since graduation from high school.
On the court, the circumference of a WNBA ball is 28.5 inches, while an NBA ball is 29.5 inches. In the WNBA scheduel, a game is played in four 10-minute quarters (with a shot clock of 24 seconds) while a NBA game is played in four 12-minute quarters with a 24-second shot clock.
They both play on a court that’s 50 feet wide and 94 feet long with rims that hang 10 feet from the floor. In the NBA the arc is 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 m) from the center of the basket as opposed to the other one, which is 22 ft 1.75 in away from the center.
One major difference that has created conversations throughout the years is the wage gap. While the two leagues play the same sport, its revenue and profits are complete opposites. The NBA’s annual revenue hovers around $8 billion, while the WNBA generates $60 million of revenue annually.
How much do WNBA players make?
The average salary for the 2020-21 season was $120,648, according to Yahoo Finance. There are only 14 players making $200,000 or more, according to Sportrac, headlined by Diana Taurasi, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart, who are all earning $228,094.
By comparison, 17 NBA players earn at least $35 million per season, according to ESPN.
How much do WNBA rookies make?
The base salary for WNBA rookies varies on when (or if) players were selected in the Draft. For picks No. 1-4 in the 2022 Draft, the base salary is expected to be $72,141 in year one. For picks 5-8, the rookie base salary drops to $69,224. Picks 9-12 earn $66,306, while second round picks will receive $63,389 in 2022. Third rounders and undrafted rookies will receive $60,471, per Her Hoop Stats.
The contracts are non-negotiable, except for circumstances involving undrafted rookies, whose contracts can be one or two years. Rookie contracts aren’t protected by the league’s CBA, per Her Hoop Stats, meaning players only receive compensation for the part of the season when they are actually on the roster.
According to Her Hoop Stats, rookie base salaries increase by three percent year over year, meaning that picks in the 2022 Draft will receive three percent more than the top four picks in the 2021 draft.
Meanwhile, rookies’ salaries increase by two percent between their first and second season. Drafted rookies receive a 10 percent salary bump between year two and year three of their contract and, if offered a team option in year four, stand to receive another sizable contract boost.
Who is the highest-paid WNBA player?
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd and Seattle forward Breanna Stewart are the highest-paid players, each earning $228,094, according to Spotrac.
Why do WNBA players get paid less?
WNBA players have contended for some time that their pay is unfair, that they deserve something closer to what their male counterparts in the NBA are paid. Recently, Draymond Green, one of those highly paid male players, poured a little gas on the fire by offering his opinions on the subject (in short, the women shouldn’t complain).
On the surface, it appears that the women have little argument — there is no comparison between revenues — but first let’s understand what WNBA players want. Kelsey Plum, a star player in the WNBA (ever heard of her?), explains: “I’m tired of people thinking that (we) players are asking for the same type of money as NBA players … we are asking for the same percentage of revenue shared within our CBA. NBA players receive around 50% of shared revenue within their league, whereas we receive around 20%.”
Well, either way, it’s a tough sell for a league that can’t turn a profit and survives on handouts from the NBA. A bigger cut for the players means higher subsidies from their benefactor. Shouldn’t the league be able to stand on its own before it offers such rewards?
The NBA and WNBA have little in common, other than they play the same sport. The NBA is 75 years old, the WNBA 25. The WNBA is 50 years behind in building its brand and working out labor issues. WNBA players want what NBA players spent decades trying to obtain.
The NBA’s average attendance is 17,760, the WNBA’s 6,535. The 2019 NBA Finals averaged a little more than 20 million viewers per game; the 2019 WNBA Finals averaged about 400,000 viewers per game. The NBA has 30 teams, the WNBA 12.