Why WNBA Top Pick Caitlin Clark’s Salary Sparked Debate

Why WNBA Top Pick Caitlin Clark’s Salary Sparked Debate

One of the most anticipated drafts in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) saw the Indiana Fever select college basketball superstar Caitlin Clark as their first pick, but the disparity in her salary compared to players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) has attracted criticism.

The University of Iowa legend has already made history as the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA) leading scorer, and her mere presence on the court has helped boost viewership and attendance at the NCAA games, as well as increase merchandise sales.

Clark will earn $338,056 (£271,141) over four years, according to the WNBA Collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

According to the 2024 WNBA rookie scale for draft picks Nos. 1-4, she will earn a base salary of $76,535 (£61,384) for her first year, increasing each year with a fourth-year option of $97,582 (£78,253).

Caitlin Clark (right) breaks records at the NCAA level. Photo: AP

Read more: Who is Caitlin Clark?

Among the Nos. 2-4 picks in the WNBA draft were Stanford’s Cameron Brink, who went to the Los Angeles Sparks, South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso, now with the Chicago Sky, and Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson, also with the Sparks – will earn the same prize as Clark. .

NBA male athletes reap much more, with San Antonio Spurs rookie star Victor Wembanyama – the No. 1 pick in last year’s NBA draft – got a four-year, $55 million (£44 million) contract under which he pocketed $12.1 million ( £9.7 million) in his first season, according to athlete contract tracker Spotrac.

Victor Wembanyama
Victor Wembanyama. Photo: Reuters

Clark’s salary represents only 0.6% of Wembanyama’s earnings.

She is expected to secure lucrative sponsorship deals off the field, but her relatively low salary has sparked debate on social media.

After the project, Joe Biden posted on

The US president said: “Women in sport continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all. It’s time we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure that women be paid what they deserve.”

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Steelers NFL quarterback Russell Wilson said: “These ladies deserve so much more. »

THE NBA generates much greater revenue ($10 billion per year) compared to the WNBA, which is expected to bring in around $200 million, according to Just Women’s Sports.

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Spotrac chief Michael Ginnitti said the “biggest stumbling block” regarding WNBA player compensation growth is “how revenue is shared.”

Mr. Ginitti wrote: “Per the 2020 CBA, the league must reach a certain budgeted revenue threshold each year before any revenue sharing kicks in. Although overall revenues are increasing, the ability of players to capitalize is still very limited. Change is imminent.”

Las Vegas Aces player Kelsey Plum has already pointed out: “We’re not asking to be paid like men. We’re asking to be paid the same percentage of shared revenue.”

Speaking to The Residency Podcast, Plum added: “I don’t think I should be paid the same as Lebron… in the NBA, they have revenue sharing percentages for players – so, sales of jerseys, obviously their TV contracts.

“Their contracts are getting bigger and bigger…but that’s because their CBA is negotiating, where the owners are making certain types of money, [the players] get that too. In the WNBA, that’s not the case.”

Some social media users urged others to come watch WNBA games to increase their popularity.

Podcaster Aubrey Strobel posted on

The WNBA season begins May 14, and Clark will likely make her season debut against the Connecticut Sun.


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