The WNBA is projecting record revenue growth in 2023.
According to Bloomberg, the league is set to capitalize on a record-breaking 2022 season with profits in the 2023 season nearly doubling those from 2019.
Currently, the league is projected to bring in between $180 million and $200 million in combined team and league revenue, up from roughly $102 million in 2019. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert called the league’s 27th season “a growth story.”
“It’s such a multi-dimensional transformation of what was quite a small league,” she said.
But while the league’s revenue is growing, salaries are reportedly shrinking. According to Bloomberg, base salaries as a share of the total revenue decreased from 11.1 percent in 2019 to 9.3 percent in 2022.
Despite the uptick in revenue, revenue sharing has not kicked in under the current collective bargaining agreement. In order to trigger revenue sharing, the league would have to see 20 percent revenue growth each year. Bloomberg reports that the WNBA would need to bring in an additional $30 million to trigger the clause; and even if that happened, only 17.5 percent of that would go toward player compensation.
But that doesn’t mean salaries will remain as they are outlined in the current CBA, under which salaries increase 3 percent each year to adjust for inflation.
The current CBA, signed in 2020, runs through 2027. The WNBA Players’ Association, however, is allowed to abandon the agreement in roughly 18 months, or at the end of the 2024 season. According to Bloomberg, the union is expected to exercise that option, though WNBPA executive director Terri Jackson wouldn’t confirm or deny the possibility.
“We represent the collective interests of The 144,” she said in a statement, “and we take our direction from them.”