Directly comparing revenue-sharing percentage, though, is problematic. Some might not realize that six franchises, including four-time champion Houston, have folded since the WNBA began. MC: What are some new learnings that you've had, both professionally and personally, over this past turbulent year that have made you change your approach or try a new one? If I can help in that transformation and change the whole part of women's sports that I think doesn't get the exposure, if I can have a little hand in that, that will make this all worth it. Travel woes and fatigue have been even bigger concerns this year because of the compacted schedule due to the FIBA Women's World Cup at the end of September. There's an oft-stated desire for hard data on the financial status of all 12 WNBA franchises. And when you add men's sports to women's sports to try to move those, to keep those percentages up, which really wasn't a challenge I wanted to take on, it's not that easy when the denominator is so big. Will Aces be even better? Neither WNBA president Lisa Borders nor the union's Jackson were in their current positions for the previous CBA negotiations. In mid-March, when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the doors of business and restaurants, it also closed the courts of sporting arenas. Everything shifted to that. "What I try to tell them is, 'Just get to know me. Making the argument that they should be paid more is fine, but using the word equity and comparing the WNBA to the NBA is just asinine. It's a factor. If you don't like it. You helped shepherd that into existence. The NBA splits its revenue with players on a 50/50 basis. That's why we launched this WNBA Justice Movement. Revenue sharing has been a big talking point, prompted in part by a story that gained traction last year written by David Berri, an economics professor who writes for Forbes. Your best-laid plans are going to be absolutely not what happens, and you have to have agility. From that perspective, it's been an easy transition for me. How Many 'BLL' Season 2 Episodes Can We Expect. The maternity leave portion of the agreement is the least complaint inducing section thus far. Whenever the next CBA negotiation is -- depending on a potential opt-out -- there will be new voices involved. But how good is good? When Engelbert first came on in 2019, the WNBA was already at a pivotal point in history. When you find out the denominator, it's huge, because men's sports are so huge. "Look, we're not over here saying we should be paid the same as the men or anything like that. How on earth are you going to make the argument that the players in the WNBA should be paid anywhere near what NBA players make? The All-Star Game provided a chance for a group of the league's best players, ranging in age from 21 to 37, to discuss their future. Coming into the WNBA, hitting this pandemic, I thought about our weakness...and how could we fix them. Aces teammate Kayla McBride added, "The thing that bothers me the most is the respect factor. "Nobody wants this league to go under. Working with sponsors to develop tailored activation programs–including hiring a full-time staff member to concentrate on such efforts–has helped the WNBA Sacramento Monarchs increase sponsorship revenue by 50 percent this … "So I try to use a funny twist to things if I can. If you hate it, OK. It goes back to the valuation question: How to value women's sports. I had heard about [all-star and MVP player] Maya Moore stepping back for a year from basketball [in 2019 to focus on reform in the justice system]. Right now, agents acknowledge, the overseas market is down. Jackson said the CBA "needs to catch up to the times.". If we're going to lead with a very player-first agenda, my role as the commissioner is to support the players, amplify their voices as they advocate for social and racial justice and equality, and support this shift. Berri estimated that WNBA players were making about 22 percent of the league's revenue and contrasted that with the NBA sharing revenue 50-50 with its players. The official site of the Women's National Basketball Association. The WNBA brings in $25 million in revenue. Players were demanding long-overdo protections and rights (like full maternal leave and childcare options), and the league was in desperate need of new sponsorship dollars to fund its future. That's the easy stuff. Period. And then most players will join their overseas teams. "We didn't have a lot of time to try to plan," says Cathy Engelbert, the WNBA's first commissioner (the role was previously titled "president"). This is a problem. CE: As a leader, you have to keep your eye on the strategy. Wnba Annual Revenue and Growth Rate. Of course, not all the answers will be positive. Stay in your lane homie because you not out here hoopin every night. Some are near the end of their basketball careers, and others are just starting. Most of us are not [in the United States] year-round, so it's hard to get tangible information in a group setting. We need progressive family benefits on costs related to adoption and fertility treatments. There's no doubt about it. "I have a 12-year-old sister," she said. Already faced with two big challenges, Engelbert was thrown another one. It's a transformative time for so many businesses, including the WNBA. The second thing that happens is, as a real leader, you recognize that you actually have an opportunity to fix stuff. However, both the league and the union have the right to opt out and terminate the agreement after the 2019 season. Couldn’t list any without a Google search first. The Liberty franchise is for sale by MSG Company, so new ownership and a different facility should be in place before CBA negotiations. The major tentpoles of the agreement are the pay increase, the improved off-season opportunities, maternity leave, and revenue splitting. training camps from the start. Who will be to blame in 2021 if the revenue markers aren’t hit—the product, or those in charge of marketing the product? Cathy Engelbert: It's funny to look back at...we didn’t call [IMG] a bubble, we called it a clean site. It doesn’t matter, because the players will be the ones paying for it for the next eight years until it’s time to negotiate another contract. With that, media were excused from the conference room, and the All-Stars and union head Terri Jackson discussed the WNBA's collective bargaining agreement for about 30 minutes. If nothing else, we have people talking. Then there is the revenue split, which is the Moby Dick of this agreement. Before this agreement, most players went to overseas leagues to supplement their pay and stay active, but it also increased the risk of injury and affected their seasons in the states. Today is a historic day in women’s sports—but it’s also tinged with disappointment. By 2021, if the league reaches certain revenue markers in broadcast agreements, marketing partnerships, and licensing deals, the W.N.B.A., and its players could be splitting revenue equally.”. "If she has it better in the WNBA someday than I do, then I did my job. Finally, she decided on a safe option that would protect the players and salvage the season, a necessary solution to keep the league afloat: The WNBA Bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. We need that feedback. ($ Million) Growth Rate (%) # Employees; 2019: Details in Premium Report: 2018: 2017: 2016: 2015: 2014: 1-Year Growth Rate: 3-Year Growth Rate (CAGR): Note: Wnba's revenues are gauged from an analysis of company filings. When I took this job about a year ago, I really didn't know about the strong social justice platforms of the WNBA players, because I was so busy at Deloitte and with my kids. There are bonuses for awards such as league MVP ($15,000), All-WNBA first team ($10,000) and second team ($5,000). I continue to be so impressed. This salary is guaranteed even if he misses a portion of the season—which he is likely to do as he’s currently injured—and it doesn’t factor any potential sponsorship deals that Williamson may sign throughout his career. Sharing those opinions on Twitter has brought out the expected trolls, as well as some media who have cherry-picked or misconstrued WNBA players' statements, especially in regard to comparisons with the NBA. Berri estimated that WNBA players were making about 22 percent of the league's revenue and contrasted that with the NBA sharing revenue 50-50 with its players. The current CBA went into effect in March 2014 and runs through October 2021. We were targeting traditional companies that were supporting men's sports. MC: How do you, as a leader, keep your long-term goals in focus when you're dealing with present problems? Two, we wanted a highly competitive environment, and three, and this came about after the George Floyd murder, was that the players wanted to be bigger than basketball. A smaller pool makes equal revenue-sharing less likely, as owners' financial needs for running their teams (along with any debt from past seasons) must be taken into account. It became more important that they heard their leader authentically using their voice around the things that mattered to them. (The Women’s National Basketball Players Association even designed a shirt, left, with all proceeds going to The Breonna Taylor Foundation.). That can't be said for all overseas teams. You still have to take risks in a crisis; even though it might seem counterintuitive, it’s what’s going to serve you well when you come out of it. Why? You’ve got to be a great listener. Or watch it. We need to find ways to help them after their basketball careers [end]. We have our silver anniversary season coming up, and are the first women's sports league in the U.S. to actually survive that long. Teams can give all the money to one player or spread it out among several. because the Washington Mystics are the reigning WNBA champions. Broadcasting agreements and marketing partnerships are high stakes popularity contests. The WNBA regular season opened May 18 and wraps up Aug. 19, as the teams jam 34 games into 13 weeks. The Liberty, one of the WNBA's original franchises, previously played at Madison Square Garden, save for a three-year stay at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, during Garden renovations. But practice facilities for some franchises will still be an issue. My hope as we get on the other side of this pandemic is that we learn from it. Hopefully, we had a good half an hour with the union to let them know how we feel.". Some say in total, over the years, it's millions. Lift women's sports overall. Now, we've got to find our niche. By better, I mean that it should have been so much closer to what male players are getting, considering that the WNBA was created and is partially owned by the NBA, a company whose revenue stretches around the circumference of the earth. But there is a bias that exists, and some people won't even acknowledge that it's there.". I want them to stay here in the United States, make a lot of money and be influential in our own country.". How much have some franchises lost? This prompted Taurasi, who has spent most of her overseas career in Russia, to provide one of her trademark sound bites. It's sports, it's fun, I love the game. It's bizarre to me that I've lived in this paradigm. So that's all very similar to kind of what I did professionally. How does political perception differ from reality in American sports? Even if we had the greatest rating and the greatest viewership, that's still not going to change a valuation model. A lot of naysayers out there, as always, for women's sports. Some of them are national champions, some of them are champions in European leagues, some of them are Olympic medalists—and all of them are talented enough to have made it to the professional level. Another learning is crisis management: I’ve encountered a bunch of crises over the course of my career. (The 2017 regular season lasted 16 weeks.) Marie Claire participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. MC: You’ve described this as your “retirement job,” but it feels like such a big next step and next chapter.

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