The 2019-20 NBA season was expected to resume in July, but there are players who are concerned because of safety or optics. The 2020 WNBA season has also gone through a similar path.
On Friday, Mechelle Voepel of ESPN reported that the WNBA will offer players their full salaries for the 2020 season, even though there will be only about 22 games this season at IMG Academy in Florida. That is a huge move by the team owners, some of whom are not billionaires who can afford NBA teams.
Since Ted Leonsis is the principal owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the Mystics’ parent organization, that doesn’t apply to the defending WNBA champions. However, it is still notable because the owners are taking on more costs without ticket revenue this season.
Originally, the league offered the players just 60 percent of their salaries. However, players balked at that. The offer of a full salary is nothing short of a big victory for all WNBA players.
Here are some of the other things the 2020 season are expected to have, according to Voepel:
- The playoffs will remain at standard length. That means eight teams make the postseason with single elimination games until the semifinals and finals, which are best-of-five series.
- WNBA players will stay in accommodations that range from hotel rooms to “multiroom villas.” They will get league-provided meals and per diems for groceries or food delivery.
- Players with five or more years of experience may bring their spouse or significant other during the season, if the player pays out of pocket for the spouse or significant other’s testing. All players can do the same for the playoffs.
- Players can choose to stay home for the 2020 WNBA season and receive their full salary if they are “certified as high-risk if they contract the coronavirus.”
- Other players can opt out of playing “with no penalty,” but they won’t get a salary. I’m not sure what this means, but many non-American WNBA players have decided to stay in their countries like New York Liberty center Han Xu, who will stay in China and Liberty guard Marine Johannes who will stay in France. There may be American players who decide not to play over coronavirus fears.
We shall see how these proposals will look in detail in the coming days. But again, kudos to the WNBA players for taking a stand for demanding and keeping the higher pay that they’ve deserved all along.