It's been a bit of a hot topic both in football (soccer) and in basketball. Women professionals don't get paid anywhere near as much as their men counterparts and while this is mostly just (IMO) a bunch of athletes who are whining on Twitter, they seem to completely ignore some very important aspects about why it is that NBA athletes are paid a MUCH higher salary than almost anyone in the WNBA.
There are a lot of videos out there that show the "low-lights' of WNBA games and honestly, they are pretty funny but people are not allowed to publicly laugh about it because: Sexism or something. In their own private time, I am sure that almost anyone would laugh at these low-lights because they are hilarious. The WNBA is supposed to be the best players in the world but that amount of airballs and hitting of the side of the backboard and missing easy layups is not at all uncommon.
I do not watch the WNBA and unsurprisingly, neither does almost anyone else. When Covid struck and significantly less fans were allowed to attend games, this didn't really affect the WNBA very much because no one was really going to the games to begin with.
After Covid, attendance really took a hit... just kidding, this picture is from 2016
I don't know who we can really blame for this but I'm gonna go ahead and point my finger at Megan Rapinoe who after winning the Women's World Cup started talking a great deal about pay inequality and this naturally spilled over to other sports.
I want to break this down into something that is really simple to understand: If you sell a product and people don't want to buy it, you don't make money. It doesn't matter if this product is a sport, a car, a computer, or a candy bar. It doesn't matter how "good" you think it is, if people don't want it, you don't make money. If you own the company that employs people to create said product, you can not pay them very much money or your company will become a little thing called insolvent - which means you are going out of business.
This chart is hilarious because the difference in revenue is so massive that it is almost impossible to create any sort of chart where the WNBA revenue is even visible. If you wanted that orange section to be bigger, which I am sure some feminists would like it to be, the scale would have to be so huge that in order to view it on a computer screen you would have to scroll up several screens to even see where the NBA's figures end.
The average salary in the NBA is over $6 million. The average salary in the WNBA is much lower and if you look at the chart above and STILL can't understand why that is, then I don't know what to tell you other than you are terrible at math. In fact, the WNBA has been propped up for many years by the NBA with 6 of the 12 teams in the league STILL losing money every year... and this was before Covid. The overall league, if it was an actual business instead of the outreach program that it is, would have died years ago because the overall league was losing over $10 million a year. It has only recently become profitable and $60 million in profits split among 12 teams is NOT a lot of profits when you consider that ESPN pays $25 million alone for the TV rights.
I don't think that any reasonable person can look at this situation and logically claim that WNBA players have any claim whatsoever to higher pay. If you look at the attendance and profitability of the games you will see that yes, there is definitely something nefarious going on here but it isn't what you think: A majority of the WNBA teams would completely shut down if they were not supplemented by the NBA team that is in the same city. The owners won't do this though out of fear of the social-justice mob that would target them for sexism.
This isn't sexism though. Remember back when Ronda Rousey was the highest paid UFC fighter for both men and women? Was that rooted in sexism? Why was she getting paid so much more? It was because she was the biggest draw and her name meant sold out arenas, millions of Pay Per Views and tons of merchandising and advertising opportunities. The average basketball fan on the other hand would probably struggle to name 5 WNBA players not just that are playing now, but that have EVER played.
WNBA player Kelsey Plum, who is actually one of the only reasonable people involved in the equal-pay argument (which by the way she calls "fair pay" instead) recently stated this:
“If the WNBA is always losing money, and if the WNBA is in the red, why do we keep it around?”
I would say that is a very good question Kelsey and perhaps you should remind your fellow players that if anyone actually decides to answer that question honestly and not out of fear of cancel culture, the WNBA will quickly find itself in the same place that the WBL did (Women's Basketball League.) The WBL shut down after 3 years of losing money. The WNBA has been around for more than 20 years now and honestly, these women should be extremely grateful that it exists at all because if you bother to dig into the financials it is really easy to see that this is not a money maker, it is a charity.