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Fans Outrage Triggered by Caitlin Clark’s Low WNBA Salary Prompts Matt Barnes to Give Harsh Reality Check

Published 04/17/2024, 1:17 AM EDT

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The higher the number of viewers you attract, the higher you get paid. However, despite pulling in historical numbers in terms of viewers of the women’s NCAA tournament, the contract amount for Caitlin Clark has left many outraged. Meanwhile, ex-NBA star Matt Barnes has weighed in on the situation, not only suggesting ways to bring about a change but also presenting the reality behind WNBA revenue streams.

“All you that are outraged and mad all of a sudden, like, these salaries have been f*cked up. But up until 2020, the WNBA hadn’t really made no profit. You know, the NBA has kind of been floating it,” the 44-year-old stated. As per reports, NBA provides WNBA with $15 million annually as financial support for various operating costs. Therefore, Matt Barnes suggests that instead of being outraged fans should support the women’s league.

 

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“Go to games, watch games on tv, buy merch. Same thing you do for the men, for the NBA side. That’s the only way the WNBA is gonna grow,” he said. It is worth mentioning that the salaries in both leagues are directly proportional to the revenue generated by the leagues.

NBA vs WNBA: Salary and revenue comparison

There is no denying that the salaries in WNBA are lower than in NBA by a huge margin. The latest comparison can be drawn from Chicago Sky 2024 No. 1 overall pick Caitlin Clark making $338,056 over four seasons. Meanwhile, San Antonio Spurs 2023 No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama is on a 4 year contract for $55 million. NBA players also surpass the WNBA by a huge margin in terms of highest paid players in the two leagues.

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The highest paid player in the NBA at present is Stephen Curry with this year’s salary being $51.9 million. The highest paid WNBA player at present is Jackie Young making $252,420 a year going into 2024. And the primary reason for this pay-gap, as mentioned by Matt Barnes as well, is the difference between the revenue of the two leagues. As per WSN, the NBA made around $10 billion during the 2022-23 season as compared to WNBA’s $60 million in 2023.

Although some reports suggest the revenue to rise to $200 million in the next phase, its significantly lower than NBA. While the NBA splits almost 50 percent of revenue with players, WNBA splits just 20 percent. And though the gap may seem unfair, it also seems that the only logical solution to the problem is the incremental development of the league; which requires time and patience. 

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Written by:

Khelendra Kumar Yadav

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Khelendra is an NBA writer at Essentially Sports, where he brings insightful analysis and engaging content to basketball enthusiasts worldwide. With a passion for the game cultivated from his own experiences as a basketball player, he has represented his school team in numerous tournaments, honing both skills and an intimate understanding of the sport. Khelendra holds a PG Diploma in Digital Media from a reputed university, providing him with a solid foundation in multimedia storytelling and digital content creation.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra