How Much Do WNBA Players Make? Understanding the Basics

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The salaries of Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)players have elicited a lot of debate. One of the major reasons for that is WNBA players earn significantly less than NBA players

Many reasons have been attributed to the difference, the key among them being that the women’s competition doesn’t generate as much money as the men’s. If this has left you wondering how much WNBA players earn, stick around because we have all the details.

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WNBA Players Salaries

Playing in a professional league is a pathway to riches for many but WNBA players. Their earnings don’t come close to what most male athletes make. The highest-paid players in the league earn $234,936, which is, quite frankly, pocket change for Steph Curry, who makes $48.07 million and is the highest earner in the NBA. 

Some WNBA players have been with the league for a significant amount of time, won numerous titles, yet still don’t come close to their male counterparts. Why do the WNBA and NBA have different salaries? 

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How Much Do They Make?

NBC Connecticut reports that for the 2022 season, out of 151 players, a WNBA player made an average of $102,751

In 2023, that figure went up, as per Queen Ballers Club. The average pay for a WNBA player was $147,745.

When it comes to annual salaries, more players are now earning upwards of $200,000. By 2022, only 14 players took home that amount or higher but that number rose to 21. 

As of 2023, the highest-paid players, according to Sporting News, are Arike Ogunbowale, Diana Taurasi and Jewell Loyd. They all make $234,936. The next player after them, DeWonner Bonner, gets $234,350, alongside Skylar Diggins-Smith and Elena Delle Donne. In the $200,000 bracket, the player who earns the least money takes home $202,154. 

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What About WNBA Rookies?

Many women basketball players aren’t as eager as their male counterparts to leave the college system and get drafted into the league. This is because they make more money in college than the WNBA. 

This happens through what’s termed as NIL deals (name, image and likeness) which earn them significant amounts of money in marketing and advertising deals.

They could cash in about $50,000 and $70,000 per season. Meanwhile, a WNBA rookie makes between $60,000 and $72,000 every season. 

That said, rookie wages aren’t protected. They only get paid for the duration of time they’ve been on the roster and placement of draft pick

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Why Are NBA and WNBA Salaries Different?

The major difference between the NBA and the WNBA is that the former makes a significant amount while the latter doesn’t make enough. In 2022, NBA made $10 billion compared to WNBA’s $60 million hence the disparity in pay.

In fact, the NBA subsidizes the women’s league. They give $12 million yearly. Plus, the Commissioner of the league, Adam Silver, revealed that the women’s league costs NBA an average of $10 million every year.     

Will the WNBA players ever get as much money as the men? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, if you want to understand why there’s a pay disparity between men and women and what we can do about it, these books on Amazon will help you explore the topic. 

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