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Volume 24 No. 214
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Gender Wage Gap Between NBA, WNBA Players Appears To Be Growing

A significant gender wage gap "exists in professional basketball -- and it is growing," but the story "begins with the WNBA's revenue picture," according to David Berri of FORBES. NBA teams "generated" $5.9B in revenue in '15-16. Similar analysis "doesn't seem to exist for the WNBA," but it is known its revenue is "far lower." WNBA players are "not being treated the same as their counterparts in the NBA." The NBA "pays its players about 50% of league revenue." But WNBA players are "receiving less than 25% of the revenue." The WNBA "earned at least" $51.5M in '17 from the gate and its ESPN TV deal. Which means in '17, the WNBA "paid no more than 22.8% of its revenue to its players." Two years ago, WNBA players were "receiving only 33% of league revenue." Berri: "So it appears the gender wage gap in professional basketball is worsening." The WNBA "appears to be doing much to grow, increasing its attendance and earning more money from television broadcasts and other sources." But it "doesn't appear there is any mechanism to ensure that player salaries are linked to this revenue growth." So without a renegotiation of the CBA, across the next four years, the gender wage gap will "likely get larger and larger." And more WNBA players will "see paychecks that are more than a million dollars below what they would receive if their league paid more like the NBA" (FORBES.com, 9/20).