Why pay gap in WNBA isn’t sexist


Drew Hawkins, Staff Writer

There is a huge pay gap between the NBA and the WNBA. Though it may seem sexist, it isn’t. How many people do you know that regularly watch the WNBA? Can you name one person that is a real WNBA fan? Most likely not. There is a huge margin between the number of people who watch the NBA to WNBA. ESPN says on average, that the WNBA has 306,000 viewers per game while the NBA has 1.19 million viewers per game.

The reason for the pay gap isn’t because people don’t want to see women succeed. There’s an inequality in their pay because there is an inequality in their play. Most people would rather see Giannis absolutely destroy someone’s career by dunking on them, Steph Curry drain threes from the logo, or maybe watch Damian Lillard shoot fadeaway threes in Russel Westbrook’s eyes than watch any WNBA player shoot some layups, or maybe make some threes from a couple steps back.

This is not to say some women in the WNBA don’t have some sick layup combinations, but the speed of the game is so much slower. People these days don’t have the patience to watch games with some layups and shooting. There have been 21 dunks in the WNBA during its whole existence. On average, there are six or more dunks per game in the NBA. And dunking isn’t the only reason people watch men over women. There are definitely some sexist people out there, but not enough to be the reason the WNBA is making far less money than the NBA.

The WNBA is like that younger child that tries to play basketball against the taller, stronger, older child. They just aren’t as good. Showing respect to them for trying and giving all their effort is encouraged, but they are on two different levels of performance. If you take any man in the NBA and put them up against a WNBA player, the woman has no chance at winning. 

More than anything, the men just bring in more revenue. It’s the bottom line. The highest potential net worth of a WNBA team could be 67 million dollars according to Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. While the Memphis Grizzlies, the team with the lowest value is at 1.5 billion dollars (Forbes). This is not to say that the WNBA couldn’t get paid a little more, but there isn’t much extra room for them to get paid. The NBA has more merchandise sales, more views per game, and more in person attendance per game. 

Just like the ball doesn’t lie, numbers don’t lie either. We should still appreciate that the women in the league put in a lot of work. But, we should realize that professional sports is a business, and there is just not enough money for the  women of the WNBA to get paid as much as the men of the NBA.