Apr 18, 2024 - News

Charted: Stunning pay gap

NBA and WNBA salaries
Data: Spotrac; Note: Based on cap hit (average annual value of a player's contract) in 2023-24 season; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Caitlin Clark's entire WNBA team combined will get paid about the same as one random back-bench NBA player next year, Axios' Sam Baker writes.

  • The Indiana Fever's total payroll was roughly $1.2 million this past year, which is about average for the league. The NBA's minimum contract for a player with just one year of experience is $1.5 million per year.

The big picture: Clark's legions of fans have been shocked to learn how little the WNBA's top talent gets paid. But she might be powerful enough to help change that reality.

Between the lines: Ticket prices for Indiana Fever games are up almost 200% since speculation of Clark's No.1 pick, per The Athletic. Other teams' ticket prices are highest, by far, for games against the Fever, too.

  • Clark is already an astounding driver of TV ratings, merchandising and high-profile sponsorships.

What's next: The WNBA is negotiating a new media deal, just as droves of new fans will be tuning in for the season's May 14 start date.

  • The league will need to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with players by 2027 — players' chance to grab a bigger slice of the league's growing pie.

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