Recently, Angel Reese decided to make herself eligible for the WNBA draft. This was shortly after star Caitlin Clark announced her eligibility as well. What ensued was one of the most star-studded WNBA drafts of all time.

In the wake of that event, there were several social media posts detailing the rookie contracts these ladies were receiving. They all were making considerably less than six figures per year. Conversations about pay disparity between the NBA and WNBA have gone on for years. It’s widely understood how the metrics of revenue, viewership and attendance all play a role in the contracts these teams can dole out. The NBA’s viewership, sellouts and volume of played games are simply higher.

For instance, a 2022 study by WSN reports that the NBA’s revenue was $10 billion compared to the WNBA’s $200 million. However, it should be noted that that $200 million number is a huge spike from 2022’s $60 million. Attendance in the NBA averaged 17,184 compared to the WNBA’s 5,679. When it comes to the amount of money that’s made, there are a few factors that contribute to the disparity. The WNBA plays vastly fewer games than the NBA. The WNBA plays 36 games, which amounts to less than half of the NBA’s 82. Furthermore, the WNBA only has 12 teams juxtaposed to the NBA’s 30. So, logically, providing less “product” would mean you inherently command less money, right?

In our free market system, I can’t knock that philosophy. However, the WNBA is making strides, and the level of talent in the league currently isn’t being nearly compensated as it should. According to NBC Dallas, there are only 20 WNBA players that make $200,000 or more. On the contrary, 2024 figures state that the NBA minimum contract is set at $1.1 million annually. You can bet that the players earning that minimum aren’t even playing in the games. Conversely, the players in the WNBA who are making six figures are the league’s superstars.

Now much of the NBA’s financial success is decades in the making. It’s well documented that the NBA before Michael Jordan was a lot harder to make money in. Bear in mind that in 1985 the NBA was nearly 40 years old. That’s just to put into perspective, how long it can take for a league to truly catch fire economically. Nonetheless, the WNBA is continuing to increase numbers across the board. And at least to me, there shouldn’t be an issue for the women in this league to be signing at least million-dollar contracts.

I understand that these ladies will make money off of the court. It’s been widely rumored that Caitlin Clark could be signing an eight-figure deal with Nike. So we should expect the likes of Angel Reese, Rickea Jackson and others to get endorsement deals off the court, too. The time these women put into their craft and to be great is immense. They deserve to be compensated in a way that reassures them that the sacrifices are worth it. They’re doing their part as I noted last season. The personalities are growing, and so is the physicality. The fans are as rabid as they have ever been. The one thing that’s been missing to make this era possible is a respectable raise that’ll see most of these ladies become millionaires.