WNBA announces landmark deal with its players union

The WNBA and its players union announced an eight-year collective bargaining agreement that increases player salaries and provides landmark benefits for motherhood and family planning.

The top players will have the chance to earn more than $500,000 per season, the parties said in a news release, more than triple what had been the maximum under the old agreement. The average cash compensation will increase to nearly $130,000, the first six-figure salary average in WNBA history.

Compensation is not base salary. It also will include performance bonuses, prize pools for newly created in-season competitions, and league and team marketing deals.

The league says it will share revenue with players on a 50-50 basis if the league meets revenue growth targets from broadcast agreements, marketing partnerships and licensing deals.

Players opted out of the previous labor agreement in the hope of a new one that would increase salaries enough that players would not feel compelled to play abroad during the WNBA offseason to maximize their earnings, and that would provide them with greater quality of life.

Under the new agreement, the players would be guaranteed to fly in premium economy seats. They also would get full salary on maternity leave, an annual child care stipend of $5,000, and reimbursement of up to $60,000 in family planning expenses in such areas as adoption, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization.

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