What Do WNBA Players Make 2023 Understanding Salary and Compensation

What Do WNBA Players Make 2023? Understanding Salary and Compensation

The WNBA is more than 20 years old and has gotten better at finding great players, getting more people to watch games, and having exciting games.

But, the league’s financial aspect, particularly the players’ salaries, has been a topic of debate and discussion.

Here at Lacoon, we will talk about what do WNBA players make, how it’s different from NBA players, and how hard it can be for new players.

How Much Do WNBA Players Make?

How Much Do WNBA Players Make

The 2022 season saw the average salary for a WNBA player stand at $102,751 among 151 athletes, according to NBC Connecticut.

Fast forward to the 2023 season, and the average salary has increased to $147,745, as reported by Queen Ballers Club.

This marks a significant improvement in the financial rewards for players in the league.

More players now make $200,000 or more a year, with 21 players reaching this milestone in 2023, up from 14 last year.

Arike Ogunbowale, Diana Taurasi, and Jewell Loyd are among the highest-paid players, according to Spotrac.

Breanna Stewart’s salary dropped after joining the New York Liberty, and she now earns $175,000, making her the 32nd highest-paid player.

Top 15 highest-paid WNBA players

Check out this list of the WNBA players who will be paid the most for playing basketball in the 2023 season.

RankWNBA playerSalaryTeam
1Arike Ogunbowale$234,936Dallas Wings
2Diana Taurasi$234,936Phoenix Mercury
3Jewell Loyd$234,936Seattle Storm
4DeWanna Bonner$234,350Connecticut Sun
5Skylar Diggins-Smith$234,350Phoenix Mercury
6Elena Delle Donne$234,350Washington Mystics
7Natasha Howard$227,900Dallas Wings
8Cheyenne Parker$216,100Atlanta Dream
9Alyssa Thomas$212,000Connecticut Sun
10Jonquel Jones$211,150New York Liberty
11Brionna Jones$208,000Connecticut Sun
12Kelsey Mitchell$206,000Indiana Fever
13Kahleah Copper$205,000Chicago Sky
14A’ja Wilson$202,155Las Vegas Aces
15Napheesa Collier$202,154Minnesota Lynx


How Much do WNBA Rookies Make?

How much do WNBA Rookies make

Despite the increase in average salaries, rookies in the league still face financial challenges.

Some women stay in college for an extra year because of COVID rules. They can make more money from deals about their name, image, and popularity than they would be joining the league.

For instance, South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston has an annual NIL valuation of $118,000, according to On3. If she were drafted as the No. 1 overall pick of the Indiana Fever, she would first need to survive training camp and roster cuts before receiving payment. Once she makes it onto the team, her potential earnings would be $74,305, starkly contrasting her collegiate funds.

Also, new players might not get paid a lot because the league’s rules don’t always protect their salaries. This means they might only get paid for the time they’re on a team’s roster.

Base salaries vary depending on draft position, and contract lengths are non-negotiable. The only exception to this rule is for undrafted rookies.

Here’s what their most recent rookie scale reads:

Picks2023202420252026 (team option)
Second rounder$65,290$66,597$73,258$83,248
Third rounder$62,285$63,532$66,710$76,240
Undrafted rookie$62,285$63,532  

Added Cash & Bonuses For WNBA Salaries

Added Cash & Bonuses For WNBA Salaries

The most significant gain comes from revenue sharing, set to begin in 2021, allowing players to benefit as they generate profits.

Before, revenue sharing was linked to ticket sales, contributing 20%-30% of league revenue to players.

However, the revenue sharing was not activated because the goals needed to be met. The union now believes that the new plan is more likely to benefit players.

The WNBA and its players share all their money equally if they can make a lot from TV, ads, and merchandise. But players still don’t get any extra money even if they sell lots of jerseys. Here are some other ways players can earn more:

  • The WNBA gives out at least $1.6 million in the offseason to players who do well and help make the league more diverse. They can get up to $300,000 extra money each year.
  • A minimum of $750,000 in prize money for special contests starting with the 2021 season.
  • Starting in 2021, the league will share its money equally with players if it meets certain goals for making money through TV, ads, and merchandise.
  • WNBA players can win more money if they do well. They can get extra cash if they’re named MVP, Rookie of the Year, or All-Defensive First Team.
  • WNBA Champions receive an $11,356 merit bonus, while the Runner Up gets $5,678. Losing in the third round earns a player $2,839; a second-round loss nets $1,803. And a first-round loss nets $1,136.
  • The MVP bonus is $15,450. All first-team members receive $10,300, and all second-team members receive $5,150. This modest amount might explain why Candace Parker seemed unfazed by her recent All-Defensive Team snub. Additionally, the All-Star game MVP gets $5,150.
  • If a player wins the top award in each category, they would add $32,000 to their annual pay. Winning multiple awards could result in slightly higher earnings. For a more detailed view of cash bonuses, check this out.

In 2021, the WNBA introduced its first-ever Commissioner’s Cup in-season competition as part of its focus on innovation.

The event features conference rivalry bragging rights, a unique Commissioner’s Cup trophy, and a prize pool of half a million dollars.

WNBA boss Cathy Engelbert says the Commissioner’s Cup shows how much players, fans, and teams care about the league.

The Cup helps get more fans involved, makes regular games more popular, and supports fairness and equality. Players also have a chance to win lots of money.

Improved Travel Adds To The WNBA Salary

Another compensation boost comes from improved travel conditions. Women now enjoy Premium Economy class (such as Comfort/Economy Plus) for all regular-season air travel and individual hotel room accommodations.

The league has established a Player Advisory Panel to address travel concerns as they arise.

Motherhood And Family Planning Elements Were Added Too

Motherhood And Family Planning Elements Were Added Too

Players can now receive their full salary during maternity leave and access a $5,000 yearly childcare stipend. Players with children are provided two-bedroom apartments.

Workplace accommodations ensure a comfortable, safe, and private space for nursing mothers.

Older players in the WNBA can get help with family planning. They can get up to $60,000 to help pay for things like adoption, surrogacy, or medical treatment to help them have a baby.

Career And Life Quality Elements Round Out the WNBA Salary

The WNBA helps players get ready for life after basketball. They work with other teams and companies to find jobs for players in the off-season. They will also assist veteran players interested in coaching careers with opportunities.

Athletes like Kevin Love talk more about mental health, so things are getting better. The WNBA helps players more with their mental health now. The league also has a better program to help players who are dealing with violence at home.

Also, a group called the Nutrition Council was created to find ways to help players eat well and perform their best.

Players now have access to experts in women’s health and the opportunity to participate in league policy committees.

These changes are good, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to pay women athletes fairly.

How do WNBA and NBA Salaries Compare?

How do WNBA and NBA Salaries Compare

The salary disparity between the WNBA and NBA is largely due to differences in revenue generation. The NBA brought in over $10 billion in the 2022 season, while the WNBA generated approximately $60 million.

NBA players get half of all the money the league makes. WNBA players get half the extra money the league makes above a certain amount.

To put the disparity into perspective, eight players in the NBA earn $40 million or more.

According to Real GM, first-year rookies drafted as picks one through ten during the 2022-23 season had a salary ranging from $4 to $9.2 million.

Comparatively, only 21 players in the WNBA make $200,000 or more, with an average salary of $147,745 for the 2023 season.

What Does A Max Contract Look Like In The WNBA?

What Does A Max Contract Look Like In The WNBA

Like the NBA, the WNBA offers max and supermax contracts to its elite players. The standard maximum contract amounts to 14.2 percent of a team’s salary.

In contrast, the supermax contract, designed to incentivize players to stay with the team that drafted them, is 16.5 percent of a team’s salary.

The supermax pays players approximately 16 percent more than a standard max contract, according to Her Hoop Stats.

For the 2022 season, the highest supermax deal a player could receive was $228,094. Meanwhile, the maximum a player could receive on a standard max contract during the same season was $196,267, as reported by Her Hoop Stats.


FAQs what do wnba players make

Do all WNBA players make the same amount of money?

No, WNBA players do not make the same amount of money. Salaries vary based on a player’s experience, performance, and other factors such as endorsement deals.

Are WNBA players paid during the offseason?

No, WNBA players are not paid during the offseason. They only receive pay during the regular season.

Do WNBA players receive any other benefits besides their salary?

Yes, some WNBA players receive additional benefits such as housing, transportation, and health insurance.

How much do the highest-paid WNBA players make?

As of the 2021 season, the highest-paid WNBA player is Diana Taurasi, who earns a salary of $221,450.

How do WNBA salaries compare to those of other women’s sports leagues?

The WNBA offers some of the highest salaries among women’s sports leagues, but they are still lower than the salaries in men’s professional sports leagues.

Can WNBA players negotiate their salaries?

Yes, WNBA players can negotiate their salaries with their teams, but the league has a salary cap that limits how much teams can spend on players.

Are WNBA players paid fairly?

This is a matter of opinion, but many people believe that WNBA players are not paid fairly compared to male athletes in similar sports. The WNBA has been advocating for higher salaries for their players in recent years.


The WNBA has come a long way in financial compensation for its players, with the average salary steadily increasing yearly.

But, there is still a significant pay gap between the WNBA and NBA, primarily due to differences in revenue generation.

Also, new players in the WNBA might not get paid much money. This is because the league’s rules don’t always protect their salaries.

The WNBA gives women a place to play basketball and make money, even though it can be hard.

As more people watch the league, everyone wants the players to get more money and make the pay difference between the WNBA and NBA smaller. Thanks for your reading!

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