Here at High Post Hoops, we are proud to unveil a WNBA salaries database. This information comes from conversations with team officials, players and agents across the league.
Briefly, a discussion about why this is important.
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Unlike other leagues across the sports landscape, there is no publicly available information for WNBA salaries. The reasons for this vary, but the effect is enormous specifically in terms of how it affects coverage.
Essentially, any reporting on a particular player signing or trade, analysis of potential moves or even how a draft target will fit into a roster long-term becomes guesswork without knowledge of a team’s salary cap, who is signed for how many years and whether such a move is even possible.
Think for a moment how you consume news about MLB, NBA, NFL. Always, it is within the framework of how a player fits. Always, it is with the understanding of when a job will become available—Isaiah Thomas, for instance, going to the Cleveland Cavaliers immediately lives within the rubric of understanding LeBron James is a free agent next season.
So without detailed salary information, this kind of writing and analysis simply isn’t possible on the WNBA. Without the information, rumors cannot be easily confirmed or batted down, stories about upcoming free agents cannot even exist if no one knows free agency is approaching.
Sure, the CBA rules that inhibit player movement play a role in how hard it is for the WNBA to garner offseason stories. But without knowing what players earn, for how long they are signed, and how that would fit on their own teams or other rosters, even major signings like this past offseason’s deals between the Sparks and Nneka Ogwumike, for example, won’t reverberate.
And no one is blind to the bottom line here: the more coverage of the league, the more casual fans can become fully immersed in the league. The bigger the fan base, the larger the revenue stream, the higher the salaries. This is quite clearly the fundamental issue with how to grow the women’s professional game.
A salary database alone won’t close the coverage gap, any more than the existence of High Post Hoops will, or getting local radio stations to acknowledge that WNBA games are happening. But they are all small, positive steps toward addressing what needs to change, just like putting WNBA games on Twitter, getting FanDuel and DraftKings to offer WNBA games, and the many other ways men’s leagues are routinely available to fans eager to engage.
Here at High Post Hoops, it could have been in our best interests to keep this document internal, and allow our writers alone to benefit from the analysis we can provide from it. However, our goal at The Summitt isn’t simply to benefit our own site. We want the game to grow, and believe that more media coverage is the key, not just a single outlet. The more people who use information, rather than baseless speculation, to inform their own analysis, the better the world of women’s basketball coverage will be. Many excellent women’s basketball writers will benefit from this, we believe. Fans can better engage the league. Everybody wins with more information.
As for the database: it is as complete as we’ve been able to make it. We’ll continue to update as much as we can. We’d encourage any teams, players and agents who can help us fill in the gaps, or see anything that needs updating, to reach out at email@example.com. Confidentiality is assured, and out only goal is to make the WNBA a better, more complete league to be covered.