Las Vegas Strip parade reveals source of gender pay gap | VICTOR JOECKS

If you want to understand why WNBA players earn a fraction of what NBA players earn, watch the Las Vegas Aces championship parade route.

The Aces won the first major professional sports championship in Las Vegas this month. Congratulations to them and their fans. It is a great achievement and worthy of celebration. County officials closed part of the Strip for a parade.

If you zoomed out, however, you’d understand why WNBA players earn so much less than their NBA counterparts. And the wage disparity is huge.

A’ja Wilson of the Aces seems to be the best player in the league. She won MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards this year. His salary is less than $200,000. According to SportTrac, the WNBA’s entire payroll is less than $16 million.

This season, more than 90 NBA players will earn more than $16 million. Stephen Curry alone will earn $48 million.

WNBA players have criticized this huge pay difference. In 2018, Wilson, commenting on Lebron James’ $154 million contract, tweeted“That must be nice. We’re here looking for a (million) but Lord, let me get back in my lane. The new WNBA collective bargaining agreement in 2020 raised top salaries, but not that much.

WNBA players can make more money overseas. That’s why WNBA star Brittney Griner was in Russia, where she’s jailed for drug trafficking.

“The reality is she’s there because of a gender issue, of pay inequality,” said Nneka Ogwumike, president of the WNBA Players Association.

These arguments may sound familiar. Democrats and mainstream national media frequently claim that there is a significant gender pay gap. The assumption, stated or not, is that sexism is to blame. But you could argue that such claims don’t take into account many factors, including type of job, hours worked, hazard, and location.

Or you can watch the Aces Championship parade route. It went from Caesars Palace to Bellagio. In other words, they crossed the street. They started on the north side of Flamingo and ended on the south side. The crowd was in the thousands. It is a fraction of sea ​​of ​​people which turned out celebrate recent teams that have won the NBA championship.

It’s part of a pattern. The final game of this year’s NBA Finals drew nearly 14 million viewers. The WNBA Finals averaged 534,000 viewers. Tickets are cheaper in the WNBA. Crowd sizes are smaller. With less audience interest, ad revenue is lower. All of this translates into a huge income disparity.

Last season, the NBA generated over $10 billion in revenue. In 2018, the WNBA grossed around $60 million in revenue. In 2018, the WNBA had lost an average of $10 million per year. If earnings had improved significantly, one suspects it would be easier to find more recent statistics.

This is reflected in the value of the team. Mark Davis bought the Aces for just over $2 million. Buying an NBA team can cost over $2 billion.

Curry and James aren’t being paid tens of millions of dollars because they’re good at basketball. They earn so much because millions of people want to see them be good at basketball.

If WNBA players want to earn more, they need more people to care about their league. Once that improves, so will their salary.

Contact Victor Joecks at [email protected] or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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