Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The WNBA and its players' union have come to terms on a new eight-year collective bargaining agreement that includes higher salaries, improved family benefits and better travel accommodations.

Why it matters: This represents a turning point for women's basketball and could ultimately lead to a substantial shift in how female athletes — across all sports — are compensated.

"We believe it's a groundbreaking and historic deal. I'm proud of the players; they bargained hard, they unified, they brought attention to so many important topics."
— WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert


  • Money: The average cash compensation will reach nearly $130,000 and top players will be able to earn upwards of $500,000.
  • Benefits: Players will receive a full salary while on maternity leave and an annual child care stipend of $5,000.
  • Living: The league's teams, which provide housing, will now guarantee two-bedroom apartments for players with children.
  • Travel: Players will still have to fly commercial (rather than charter), but they'll finally get their own individual hotel rooms.

Between the lines: NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in 2018 that the WNBA had lost more than $10 million in each year of its operation, a figure that has been pointed to in the past as a reason to keep salaries low.

  • Yes, but: As WSJ's Rachel Bachman points out, "what are seen as troubling financial losses in fledgling women's leagues are often seen in men's leagues as investments."
  • For instance, Major League Soccer — which averaged the same number of viewers (246,000) for regular-season games on ESPN last year as the WNBA did — is losing more than $100 million annually because it's investing in players (the average base salary in 2019 was $345,867), and nobody bats an eye.

The bottom line per NYT's Howard Megdal: "The implications of the agreement stretch far beyond basketball at a time when women around the world are demanding increased pay and benefits, on their own merit and as a challenge to historically unequal pay that leaves them earning less than men for similar work."

Go deeper: Women take the lead on donating to support female college sports

Go deeper

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

FBI: Russian hacking group stole data after targeting local governments

FBI Headquarters. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.