New WNBA Contract: The Players Win!! [Merged thread]

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I'm not as optimistic about the annouced CBA.

Living in Phoenix I'm one of the fortunate ones to be able to access in person WNBA play. Further I've had the chance to see the GOAT for over 10 years. I consider myself very fortunate for these opportunities and thoroughly enjoy the WNBA play.

I'm not optimistic that my children will have the same opportunity. The WNBA has grappled from its inception with finding and or creating a sustainable market.

Over the life of the WNBA the number of franchises has fell from 16 to 12, average attendance since the initial year of 15000 + has declined steadily to approximately 6500.



"Teams and the league were collectively owned by the NBA until the end of 2002, when the NBA sold WNBA teams either to their NBA counterparts in the same city or to a third party, as a result of the dot-com bubble."

Since the direct assistance of the NBA ended the WNBA has stagnated. This is very disappointing in the light of exciting play, amazing athletes and very bankable stars.

Surveying the sports entertainment landscape for whatever reason there does not seem to be sufficient demand for women's professional basketball in the United States to sustain a league.

By most measures the WNBA has limped along. Over the same time. Their NBA counterpart has exploded in terms of attendance, viewership, revenues, profit, and exposure.

It is indeed unfortunate our elite women basketball players must travel internationally in order to ply their craft. I've wondered if there would be any way to overcome the challenges and have international play that included the US. I haven't been able to figure that one out. But then again neither have the leadership of the WNBA.

With this background I am so grateful that I got to share in DT's career as well as see the amazing cast of elite athletes, talented stars and marquee players.
 

RogueDave

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Anyways wondered if switching WNBA to Winter Season like ABL had it...

Extend to 50 game seasons.

Try increasing NBA ticket cost on some select games and package as Doubleheader’s for marketing Women’s games.

Would this help bring in the TV and attendance revenue to maximize Team profitability and player salaries?

In other words play basketball during basketball season.
 
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WNPR is reporting this evening that the average salary for the Connecticut Sun would rise next season from $70,000 to $135,000.

Haven't seen what the rookie salary would be. The negotiators are all super stars. One wonders whether the thrust of the contract helps the top players, or whether the lower level will get substantially more as well. Players with children will be assured two bedroom apartments during the season, while each player will get her own room while on the road. WNPR also reports that players on maternity leave will now receive full pay, whereas previously they could only draw half their salaries.
 

CocoHusky

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Anyways wondered if switching WNBA to Winter Season like ABL had it...
Extend to 50 game seasons.
Try increasing NBA ticket cost on some select games and package as Doubleheader’s for marketing Women’s games.
Would this help bring in the TV and attendance revenue to maximize Team profitability and player salaries?
In other words play basketball during basketball season.
Down side to this is then you are competing with the internationals leagues and most WNBA players would end up in China or Russia playing for higher salaries.
 
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WNPR is reporting this evening that the average salary for the Connecticut Sun would rise next season from $70,000 to $135,000.

Haven't seen what the rookie salary would be. The negotiators are all super stars. One wonders whether the thrust of the contract helps the top players, or whether the lower level will get substantially more as well. Players with children will be assured two bedroom apartments during the season, while each player will get her own room while on the road. WNPR also reports that players on maternity leave will now receive full pay, whereas previously they could only draw half their salaries.
That math doesn't jive with what was reported about the contract in the OP's Voepel article:

2019 Team salary cap of $996,100 = average of $83,008 for 12 players.

2020 Team salary cap of $1.3 million = average of $108,333 for 12 players.

Possibly the Sun's average of of $135,000 includes some of the additional cash compensation items beyond the salary cap (performance bonuses, marketing deals, etc). ??
 
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Carnac

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Merge threads?
Sorry for stepping on your thread. I didn’t see it here, and didn’t look on the general side as I should have. I’ll delete this after tonight’s game if they are not merged by then.
 

bballnut90

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You can’t just “put” a team somewhere. You have to find dedicated owners that have fairly deep pockets that want a team.

The NBA Golden State owner has shown interest in a team in the past, but the timing hasn’t been right for him.
I get that--just saying it may make sense to look for owners or investors interested in a team in that area since there's a large WBB fanbase built in.
 
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I get that--just saying it may make sense to look for owners or investors interested in a team in that area since there's a large WBB fanbase built in.
What you don’t get is owners aren’t that easy to find. That’s why there’s only 12 teams in the league. I believe it took over a year to sell the Liberty after it was put up for sale.
 
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What you don’t get is owners aren’t that easy to find. That’s why there’s only 12 teams in the league. I believe it took over a year to sell the Liberty after it was put up for sale.
It's clear why it's not easy to find WNBA owners. Because there is a low to zero probability that they will be able to make any money or break even.

In the thread on demand in attendance at women's basketball games I tried to support this argument with data. There is very little in person attendance at WNBA games. Attendance has dropped from 15000 + when the league began to just over 6,500 last year.

There are very few fans available to watch on TV or streaming media. When the WNBA season takes place there are so many other alternatives for sports entertainment fans.

The NBA stopped direct assistance to the WNBA in the early 2000s. There are no indications in the near future that there will be a change in these demand factors. Therefore it's not surprising that the number of franchises in the WNBA would remain the same or perhaps even shrink. The trend has been shrinkage to quote Seinfeld. From a high of 16 franchises we're down to 12.

Here in Phoenix we have the GOAT. Also very entertaining teams.

Attendance does not increase.
 
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CamrnCrz1974

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With all due, @azfan , a good amount of the information you posted as factual in your previous post is simply not true or ignores critical factors/components.

As an aside, @ucbart and @EricLA have had multiple discussions regarding these issues, so I had much of the information below already in my archives.

In the thread on demand in attendance at women's basketball games I tried to support this argument with data. There is very little in person attendance at WNBA games. Attendance has dropped from 15000 + when the league began to just over 6,500 last year.
First, the attendance numbers of yesteryear were fictional. To establish interest in the product, franchises were giving away THOUSANDS of tickets in the early days.

In recent years (at least five), the WNBA no longer does that, for the most part (Bill Laimbeer talked about how Vegas ended that practice after using it in the Aces' first year to get people to a game as a tool to develop the fan base). Attendance equals number of people in the stands (turnstile), plus any unused but paid for tickets (whether season or single-game).

Putting that aside, let's look at various individual teams/factors:

Washington Mystics
Washington averaged 4546 fans per game, a drop of 1500 from last year. Per your post, you would point this out as a tremendous negative. However...

Washington (owned by the same ownership group as the NBA, NHL, and G League teams) moved the team from Capital One Arena to the St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena. The ownership group negotiated the deal so St Elizabeths will serve as the home for the Mystics (17 home dates, plus exhibition games and playoffs) and its G League team (24 home dates, plus exhibition games and playoffs), plus serve as the Washington Wizards' practice facility.

Capacity at the new arena (which Washington started playing in this year) is 4200. Washington played 16 of 17 games there (it had one game at Capital One).

Taking out the attendance for the Capital One game, Washington averaged 3869 fans per game. That works out to be 92.12 percent of capacity at St Elizabeths.

Teams Experiencing Jumps in Attendance
Half the league experienced jumps in attendance, including the L.A. Sparks (+6.3%) -- who led all teams this season in average attendance for the second straight year -- the Connecticut Sun (+4.2%) and the Chicago Sky (+7.5%), who experienced the largest increase year over year.

Seattle Storm
Due to renovations and redevelopment at the Seattle Center Arena (formerly KeyArena), Seattle had to play five games at the Angel of the Winds Arena (in Everett, Washington) and twelve games at Alaska Airlines Arena (campus of University of Washington).

The Storm averaged 7562 fans in 2019, which was less than the 8100+ fans in 2018. But the team did relatively well, when one factors into the equation that fans had to navigate between two different arenas in two different cities (Everett is about 25 miles north of Seattle). The Storm will move back into its permanent home at Seattle Center Arena in 2021, once the redevelopment is complete.

New York Liberty
New York had the unfortunate situation of James Dolan ownership for many years. Before the team was sold to Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai, Dolan relegated the Liberty from Madison Square Garden (in the heart of Manhattan) to the Westchester County Center in White Plains. Dolan wanted to cut operating costs of MSG, and, to be frank, he never had anything more than a passing interest in the Liberty's viability.

In contrast to Washington's move (which kept the arena in the heart of DC), Westchester County Center is an hour away from MSG (with moderate traffic) … and even longer from a borough like Brooklyn.

Having a cornerstone franchise in the home of the NBA's/WNBA's headquarters move to the "burbs" killed attendance in 2018 and 2019. Liberty attendance plummeted to 2239 in 2019. Capacity was listed at 5000, but in reality it was a lot less (one report has the Liberty attendance at 89.79 percent of capacity).

Thankfully, Tsai bought the team and is moving the Liberty to Brooklyn to play in the state of the art Barclays Center beginning in 2020.

Without the Liberty, WNBA attendance was 6918 per game last year. Which brings me to my next point...

Injured/Missing Stars
Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, Angel McCoughtry, Skylar Diggins-Smith, and other big-time players did not play at all in 2019. Diana Taurasi played in 6 regular season games out of 34.

That is major star power missing -- especially for Atlanta and Dallas, franchises that are not owned by NBA teams and do not have ownership groups that also own the arenas in which they play (e.g., Connecticut and Las Vegas).

Certainly, that has a tremendous impact on attendance in a league like the WNBA, which is star-/personality-driven.

There are very few fans available to watch on TV or streaming media. When the WNBA season takes place there are so many other alternatives for sports entertainment fans.
First, the WNBA already receives money from its television deal with ESPN. In 2019, ESPN expanded its coverage this year with 16 regular-season telecasts.

Second, CBS Sports' television deal with the WNBA in 2019 meant that CBS Sports featured live broadcasts of 40 WNBA games in primetime and on weekends.

Third, to open the 2018 season (first weekend of games), the WNBA the averaged 148,000 viewers on ESPN2. During the opening weekend of 2019, with the additional programming on ESPN and CBS Sports, league viewership grew to 413,000 - a 64% increase year-over-year.

Fourth, looking at the first half of 2019, across ESPN/ESPN2/ABC, the WNBA averaged approximately 318,000 viewers – up 31 percent from 243,000 in 2018.

And to close the season, Game 5 of the 2019 WNBA Finals averaged 440,000 viewers on ESPN2. For comparison, a college football game averaged 714,000 viewers on ESPN at the same time.

Fifth, in 2019, major media outlets like Bleacher Report, The Athletic, Overtime, and SLAM all launched their own verticals dedicated to expanding coverage of women’s basketball and the WNBA, propelling the conversation around the league’s culture from a grassroots level.

And this is not even counting WNBA League Pass, broadcast of games (for free) via Twitter, and other platforms with which the WNBA has for broadcasting games.

The NBA stoppef direct assistance to the WNBA in the early 2000s. There are no indications in the near future that there will be a change in these demand factors. Therefore it's not surprising that the number of franchises in the WNBA would remain the same or perhaps even shrink. The trend has been shrinkage to quote Seinfeld. From a high of 16 franchises we're down to 12.
Actually, let me clarify the information/facts regarding WNBA ownership, NBA involvement, and profitability information:
  • Initially, the NBA, a private corporation, owned the WNBA, also a corporation, and all its teams or franchises. In 2002, the NBA began to sell them. Some WNBA teams changed cities, some folded, others were added.
  • Today there are 12 teams. Five belong to NBA owners; seven belong to independent entities.
  • Collectively, the teams (WNBA) own 50 percent of the WNBA corporation; the other 50 percent is owned by the NBA's 30 franchise owners.
  • This works out to NBA ownership of about 70 percent of the league.

In addition, WNBA teams have started to turn profits, and profitability is not as far off as your post makes it seem.
  • The first franchise to do so was the Connecticut Sun (owned by the Mohegan Tribe, which also owns the arena in which the team plays), in 2011.
  • By 2013, three NBA-owned/affiliated teams -- Minnesota Lynx, Indiana Fever, and Phoenix Mercury - were also in the black, as well as one non-NBA owned team (Seattle Storm).

Here in Phoenix we have the GOAT. Also very entertaining teams. Attendance does not increase.
Attendance numbers for the Phoenix Mercury during Diana Taurasi’s tenure with the team:
  • 2004: 7638.12
  • 2005: 7302.71
  • 2006: 7495.88
  • 2007: 7710.88
  • 2008: 8521.59
  • 2009: 8522.59
  • 2010: 8981.53
  • 2011: 9167.35
  • 2012: 7814.06
  • 2013: 8556.82
  • 2014: 9556.71
  • 2015: 9945.71 (note - Taurasi sat out the 2015 WNBA season, for rest)
  • 2016: 10350.88
  • 2017: 9912.71
  • 2018: 9949.94
  • 2019: 10192.53
 

psconn

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Hope this makes it easier for the Sun to re-sign players.
Overall, I think the opposite is true. Also included in the CBA are provisions that make it easier for players to move on.
 
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WNBA attendence decline by year, WNBA franchise decline since inception, narrative analysts from:





"The WNBA says it has lost significant money the last 22 years, including $12 million last season.
"On average (we've lost) over $10 million every year we've operated," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The Associated Press in October."
 

CamrnCrz1974

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WNBA attendence decline by year, WNBA franchise decline since inception, narrative analysts from:
Will respond to your entire post, but you are posting the same thing you said in your initial post (though with a link), without any response to the extensive work I did regarding arena capacity, veracity of attendance numbers, etc. -- which included inside information given to me by the former Phoenix Mercury General Manager.
 
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Maybe the players won't have to play overseas.
Not likely for those that already play overseas. The team salary cap only increased $300,000 per team. It doesn’t seem to be sinking into many people that isn’t all that much for a team of 12 players. There’s this sponsorship money coming in as possible bonuses, but I have to wait to see how it all works out. Not all in on this initial hype of the new CBA. They did get better amenities though.
 
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Rereading the 10 Takeaways I had the following questions:

Domestic Violence.

Last season was marred by well publicized cases of DV that revealed the absence in the then CBA of any meaningful attention to this important issue.

"The WNBA also is introducing a forward-thinking response to domestic violence concerns and incidents. According to the WNBA’s press release, the league is establishing “an augmented and holistic domestic/intimate partner violence program that includes education and counseling.”

Hum . . . . sounds much more PR oriented than substantive. I don't detect any consequences in the article and while I haven't read the CBA I would be surprised if there was significant consequences.

From Michael McCann's article below:

"The lack of such a policy in the WNBA contributed to the Sparks playing Williams while she was accused (and is still accused) of violent acts."

I wonder if Williams plays this year?

SI reported:

Sports Illustrated has learned that the new WNBA CBA will include a detailed policy concerning domestic/intimate partner violence. The policy will largely resemble the joint NBA/NBPA policy. Along those lines, it will include a paid administrative leave component. This component will authorize the WNBA to remove a player from her team for a reasonable period of time. During that time, an investigative body will review the accusations and available evidence. The administrative leave component will give consideration to a number of factors. Those factors include, but aren’t limited to: whether criminal charges have been filed; the seriousness of the allegations; and the player’s past history. The domestic violence policy will also incorporate educational offerings and counseling.


Michael McCann's January 14th article does say" WNBA CBA will include". His reporting is all phrased in the future tense so I wonder what will actually materialize . . . and when.

Revenue Sharing

"As outlined in the WNBA’s press release, a new 50-50 revenue sharing deal begins with the 2021 season and will be “based on the league achieving revenue growth targets from broadcast agreements, marketing partnerships and licensing deals.”

Does anyone else have the view that the probability of achieving all those streams of revenue is less than 100% and perhaps closer to 10%?
 
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So WNBA I think its time for at least 2 more teams there is too much talent out there being left off of teams
Totally agree, especially if there is enough $$. I have to think a team would thrive in Knoxville or Louisville or maybe some other city that has high WCBB attendance. Maybe Portland? Iowa?

WNBA failed in places like San Antonio, Orlando, Sacramento, Cleveland, Tulsa, Detroit, Charlotte, Houston, Salt Lake City.

Obviously teams have done well in cities the don't have large women's basketball programs, like Los Angeles, but it seems like it would make sense to look at places with high WCBB interest...
 
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