NBA vs. WNBA Comparison: Salaries, Viewership, Ticket Prices, and Attendance


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The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women’s NBA are basketball competitions but they operate under different dynamics. Most of these variations can be attributed to the difference in the biological makeup of men and women. 

Additionally, these differences help make the women’s league more attractive and competitive. Keep reading this article if you’re wondering how different the NBA and WNBA are.

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In-Game Differences Between NBA and WNBA

In this section, we list some differences that make the way the NBA and WNBA are played. 

  • The size of an NBA ball is 29.5 inches, and a WNBA ball is 28.5 inches. 
  • The NBA has four- 12 minute quarters, while in the WNBA, it’s four-minute quarters.
  • The roster size in the NBA has 15 players, while in the WNBA, it’s 12 players.
  • Players in the WNBA are drafted when they’re 22 years old, but NBA players get drafted at 19.

Aside from these, off-the-field dynamics differentiate the NBA and WNBA. We’ll compare the NBA and WNBA’s revenue, salaries, attendance, viewership, and ticket prices.

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NBA vs. WNBA Salaries

NBA players earn significantly more than WNBA players. As of 2023, the average pay for an NBA player is $9 million, while that of a WNBA player is $147,745.

Golden State Warrior’s point guard Steph Curry is the highest-paid player in the NBA. He earns $48 million annually. In comparison, Jackie Young is the highest-paid WNBA player. She takes home $252,450

The minimum pay is also significantly different. In the NBA, the lowest a player can earn is upwards of $1.1 million for a player with no experience to $3.2 million for a player with 10-plus years of experience. 

In the WNBA, the minimum pay is $62,285.

The WNBA players earn less money because the league generates less than the NBA. The NBA makes $8 billion, while the WNBA $60 million. In fact, the commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, said that the women’s league lost $12 million annually. 

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NBA vs. WNBA Viewership

The NBA dwarfs WNBA in viewership. According to Statista, the average television viewership for the NBA 2022/23 regular season was 1.59 million, a slight drop from the previous season, which was 1.61 million

The 2023 NBA finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat attracted an average viewership of 11.64 million on American Broadcast Corporation (ABC).

An average of 6.4 million watched the postseason games on ESPN.

As of 2023, the television audiences for WNBA reached their highest peak since the league began. It has an average viewership of 556,184 every game; by the halfway point, it shot up by 67 per cent from last year. 

In 2022, the WNBA averaged a viewership of 379,000, a 16 per cent increase from 2021.

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NBA vs. WNBA Attendance Records

 The NBA attracts more fans in the stadium than the WNBA. In the 2022/23 season, the league recorded the highest-ever attendance. 

22, 234.502 people walked into the arenas during the regular season. This surpassed the previous 22, 124,559 set in 2017/18. On average, NBA teams averaged 18,000 fans. 

In WNBA, the average attendance for the 2023 season was 6,492, an increase of 846 from the 2022 season. The Seattle Storm attracted the highest number of fans with 9,549.

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NBA vs. WNBA Ticket Prices

In the 2023 season, a ticket to an NBA game during the regular season ranges from $95 to $600. The fluctuation is caused by the type of team playing. The bigger teams like the Golden State Warriors have pricier tickets compared to the smaller teams.

In 2021, the average price of a WNBA ticket was $47. The Washington Mystics had the highest-priced ticket at $73 and the Los Angeles Sparks the cheapest at $24.

Those are some of the differences that set the NBA and the WNBA apart. Is there a day that the WNBA will catch up with the NBA? 

Check out some of these NBA merchandise on Amazon.

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