by Lauren Niemiera
March 7, 2014, NEW YORK (ISN) – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) announced today that they have entered into a new eight-year collective bargaining agreement, commencing with the 2014 season and continuing through 2021.
“I am pleased to announce that we have concluded the collective bargaining process and have reached an agreement with the WNBPA that provides the league with a long-term foundation for growth while also guaranteeing increases in player salaries and benefits,” said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. “This agreement caps a successful 2013 season both on and off the court, and we are now focused on delivering the best basketball in the world.”
The new collective bargaining agreement includes an additional 12th roster spot, salary cap increases and reduced revenue sharing thresholds, making it more likely that the players will share in league revenue growth.
“We are pleased that we have a completed collective bargaining agreement in place and that 2014 free agency negotiations and signings can begin. Although the additional roster spot was the players’ primary goal, we expect all of the league’s constituencies to benefit from the teams’ ability to sign a 12th player,” said WNBPA Director of Operations Pamela Wheeler. “Throughout these negotiations, as always, the players demonstrated a strong commitment to the growth and success of the league.”
The following are additional points agreed to by the WNBA and the Players Association in their new collective bargaining agreement:
• A new “Time Off Bonus” of up to $50,000 that players can earn for limiting their overseas play to three months or less during the offseason.
• The number of times that a player can be subject to a “core” designation has been lowered from 5 to 4, shortening the path to unrestricted free agency for star players. (Each team can designate one of its players as a core player and receive exclusive negotiating rights to that player in exchange for an offer of a one-year, fully-guaranteed maximum salary contract.)
• The term of the agreement is eight years with both the WNBA and the WNBPA having the ability to opt out after the sixth season.
“As players, we are certainly pleased to conclude our business with the owners. We can now focus on the upcoming season and build on the momentum from last year. We are committed to promoting the growth of the WNBA and helping this league get to the next level,” said WNBPA President Tamika Catchings. “Over the past eight months the players on our Negotiating Committee have put in tremendous time, effort and thought into these negotiations and we hope that every player in the league will be the beneficiary of those efforts.”
The collective bargaining announcement follows a successful 2013 season in which the league experienced double-digit growth in television viewership, increase in attendance and soaring traffic on WNBA.com. In addition, the 2013 campaign introduced a new brand identity and was highlighted by a new six-year television agreement with ESPN, extending the league’s relationship with the network through 2022.
About the WNBA
The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. The league, which counts Boost Mobile as its leaguewide marquee partner, will tip off its 18th season on May 16, 2014.
Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.