WNBA CBA still awaiting final signatures two weeks later

Two weeks after the Women’s National Basketball Players Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association announced that they’d formed a Collective Bargaining Agreement, it has yet to be finalized. Both sides estimated last week that it will be another seven to 10 days.

The WNBA declined comment on the agreement, including what is holding it up from completion, past what President Laurel Richie said upon announcement. At that time she acknowledged that the two sides had reached an agreement, and that it had yet to be finalized.

WNBPA president Tamika Catchings said the new agreement is ready for final signatures and is “a done deal.” She said player needs have been met through the new CBA.

“As a union, we are satisfied with the deal,” Catchings said. “In the negotiation process, there are things from both sides that you fight for – some you win, and some you lose. But, I think after looking at this deal, we found a consistent medium that will be good for both sides.”

Once the agreement is signed, teams can acquire players and make trades. This is particularly significant due to one of the key points of the new agreement: teams will be allowed to have 12 players on a roster, instead of 11.

Last season the roster limit severely affected some teams when players became injured, causing some to sign free agents while athletes rehabilitated. Having rosters back up to 12 players should provide more roster stability, Catchings said.

“The most significant issue for the players was getting the 12th player added back to the rosters,” Catchings said. “It provides a better quality of play for all. And of course, it adds another 12 jobs across the league.”

The new CBA also designates salary cap changes in that 2013 figures are maintained. The salary guarantee will be $869,000, with a maximum of $913,000. The guarantee and salary cap will increase by two percent each year under the six-year agreement. Maximum annual increases in individual multi-year deals will increase correspondingly by two percent.

The third main change in the new CBA is around revenue sharing. Under the new agreement, if regular season average team ticket revenue exceeds a target amount or threshold, players will receive a percentage of the amount over the target.

Under the old CBA, the threshold was $2.7 million, and the player share was ten percent.

“As these numbers do not provide for a meaningful revenue sharing program for players, we sought to achieve more realistic benchmarks to allow players to not only share in revenues sooner, but also receive a meaningful share once the benchmark is met,” Catchings said.

The threshold has been reduced from $2.7 million to $2 million, and the players share increases to 15% as follows:
o   From $2 – $2.5, players share in the overage would be 15%.
o   $2.5 & above, the share would be 20%.
· The threshold grows by CPI + 1.  Traditionally annual ticket price increases are greater than CPI.