Should WNBA Players Be Paid the Same as NBA Players?

A great debate in the basketball industry is whether professional WNBA athletes should or shouldn’t be paid the same as professional NBA athletes. I believe that WNBA athletes should not be paid the same as NBA athletes because, overall, male athletes and the teams they play for bring in more revenue. Generally speaking, NBA athletes are also more talented and entertaining to watch because they are often taller, more muscular, score more points per game, dunk more times per game, have higher vertical jumps, and run faster on the court than WNBA athletes. WNBA athletes should not be paid the same as NBA athletes if they don’t give out the same entertainment the male athletes do. If you are more entertaining, then more fans are going to want to attend games, buy merchandise, etc… The more entertaining a team/organization is, the more revenue they will produce. The more revenue brought in, the higher player salaries become. 

Revenue is the total amount of money brought in by a company over a certain amount of time. NBA teams bring in more revenue than WNBA teams do. We can look at the Chicago Bulls, an NBA team, that made around $352 million in revenue last year. Team revenue is largely made up of ticket sales, merchandise, food and beverage sales, local corporate sponsorships, and local broadcasting. The Chicago Sky, a WNBA team, averages $19.7 million per year in annual revenue. That is a major difference. An NBA team practically had 18x more revenue last year than a WNBA team in the same city. Because the NBA is making way more money for various reasons, this gives them the opportunity to give out more money back to their individual players in the form of player salaries.

The reason why the NBA is making more money than the WNBA is because male athletes are more talented than female athletes. We can compare points per game from the NBA to the WNBA to see which athletes are better. The team with the highest avg ppg last season for the WNBA was the Las Vegas Aces. They averaged 94.4 points per game. We can then look at the NBA and see how the LOWEST team in avg ppg was the Brooklyn Nets. They averaged 92.50 ppg. The lowest scoring team in the NBA is only 2 points less on average than the highest scoring team in the WNBA. Another stat is how during the 2022-2023 NBA season the player to avg the most ppg was Joel Embid of the Philadelphia 76ers. He averaged 33.1 points per game. In WNBA HISTORY the player to avg the most ppg is Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury. She only ever averaged 25.3 points per game. This proves NBA athletes are more talented than WNBA athletes. Because they are more talented, they are more likely to be watched, therefore giving NBA teams more money in revenue. 

A strong argument against my claim can be how talent and entertainment values are not the only things that produce revenue, but that time in existence does. NBA franchises/leagues have been around in existence for way longer than WNBA franchises/leagues have been. This would give male franchises a longer time to build a bigger fan base, and the bigger the fan base the more money can be brought into a league. The Chicago Bulls were founded in 1966. The Chicago Sky were founded in 2006. This is a 40 year gap. Although the NBA has been around a lot longer, there are many other factors that contribute to the revenue difference between the two leagues. One reason being how the NBA has more merchandise sales due to more endorsements from popular brands. The highest average attendance rate in the WNBA is 10,631. The highest average attendance rate in the NBA is 20,527. The NBA also plays at larger venues/stadiums and has more marketing around America. So, even though the NBA has been around longer than the WNBA, there are still many other factors to impact revenue that the NBA has more of than the WNBA. 

This is all why I believe WNBA athletes should not be paid the same as NBA athletes. 

Robert DeMateo, Joseph E. Gary Middle School, Class of 2028