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Sport WNBA, players reach tentative 8-year labor deal

17:10  14 january  2020
17:10  14 january  2020 Source:   ap.org

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NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA and its union announced a tentative eight-year labor deal Tuesday that will allow top players to earn more than $500,000 while the average annual compensation for players will surpass six figures for the first time.

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference in Washington.  The WNBA and its union announced a tentative eight-year labor deal Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020,  that will allow top players to earn more than $500,000 while the average annual compensation for players will surpass six figures for the first time. I call it historic,© Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference in Washington. The WNBA and its union announced a tentative eight-year labor deal Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, that will allow top players to earn more than $500,000 while the average annual compensation for players will surpass six figures for the first time. I call it historic," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a phone interview. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The deal, which begins this season and runs through 2027, will pay players an average of $130,000 and guarantees them full salaries while on maternity leave. The agreement also provides enhanced family benefits, travel standards and other health and wellness improvements.

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Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five- year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the last a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years .

“I call it historic," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a phone interview. “The CBA guarantees substantial (financial) increases. The way we are paying these players is different than the past. ... The top couple players are tripling (in pay) where they were. Other players are making $200,000-300,000. The average will be over $130,000. Everyone gets an increase here."

The deal, which must be ratified by owners and players, calls for 50-50 revenue sharing starting in 2021, based on the league achieving revenue growth targets from broadcast agreements, marketing partnerships and licensing deals.

“I was adamant on the 50-50 target," Engelbert said. “The league and players work together to market this league so we can share revenue with the players. We have to hit some targets.”

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The deal was struck a day before the sides faced a deadline for opting out of the current deal . If approved by votes of players and owners - likely to News broke of the tentative agreement just as Wednesday's games were starting. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra heard the news after a victory over the

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The salary cap will go up 31% to $1.3 million in the first year — up from $996,000 and another $750,000 in prize money for special competitions arrives in 2021. Under this deal, the maximum base salary would increase to $215,000 from $117,500.

“You can pay your stars. That's how the league grows,” Engelbert said.

This will be the fifth CBA in the history of the WNBA, which launched in 1997. Like the last CBA, there is a mutual opt-out provision after six years.

The CBA also proposes a minimum of $1.6 million in offseason league and team marketing agreements that would create up to $300,000 in additional annual cash compensation for select players.

The rookie scale for the No. 1-4 picks will rise to $68,000 — an increase of about $15,000 from this year — plus the ability to qualify for league-guaranteed money under the marketing agreement.

“It was collaborative effort,'" WNBA players' union president Nneka Ogwumike said. “I think that we really all had the same things in mind and had different way of getting there. We really put our heads together and came with some ideas."

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With both sides signing off, getting players and owners to pass the deal would likely be no more than a formality. A person briefed on the terms said the deal extends for seven From the outset, these talks seemed much different than the unfriendly discourse that went on five years ago, when the league

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five- year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial peace to 26 years since the ruinous fights in the first two decades of free agency. After days of near round-the-clock talks

Ogwumike said the labor pact provides more financial incentive for players to stay in the offseason instead of going overseas to play. Former league MVP Breanna Stewart tore an Achilles tendon playing overseas last year and missed the entire WNBA season. Diana Taurasi sat out a season a few years ago because the Russian team she played for was paying her more than $1 million and wanted her to rest.

FILE - In this Friday, May 31, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Sparks' Chiney Ogwumike (13), obscured at left, and her sister Nneka Ogwumike celebrate after a win over the Connecticut Sun in a WNBA basketball game in Los Angeles. The WNBA and its union announced a tentative eight-year labor deal Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020,  that will allow top players to earn more than $500,000 while the average annual compensation for players will surpass six figures for the first time. “It was collaborative effort,'© Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Friday, May 31, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Sparks' Chiney Ogwumike (13), obscured at left, and her sister Nneka Ogwumike celebrate after a win over the Connecticut Sun in a WNBA basketball game in Los Angeles. The WNBA and its union announced a tentative eight-year labor deal Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, that will allow top players to earn more than $500,000 while the average annual compensation for players will surpass six figures for the first time. “It was collaborative effort,'" WNBA players' union president Nneka Ogwumike said. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

“This agreement is reflective of the game growing and the league growing and then the revenue share will grow," Ogwumike said. “Revenue sharing is putting your best foot forward.”

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Adam Silver and the NBA unveiled a tentative new CBA deal Wednesday night, one day before the league and players faced a deadline for opting out This season is the first of a nine- year , billion television deal between the NBA, ESPN and Turner Sports. It's also the first labor deal negotiated by

The deal was struck a day before the sides faced a deadline for opting out of the current deal . If approved by votes of players and owners — likely to be formalities — there will be no lockout next summer and no labor issues for years to come. “It’s amazing. I’m excited,” union president Chris Paul

Engelbert said the additional money needed to fund the CBA will come from a variety of places.

“Teams and owners are stepping up. The league is stepping up," said the commissioner, who started last July.

She also touted the new “Changemakers" program, with key sponsors supporting the WNBA in its transformation across marketing, branding and player and fan experiences. AT&T, Nike and Deloitte are the inaugural three businesses.

The league will also expand its schedule by a few games and add an in-season Commissioner's Cup tournament this year. Other highlights of the CBA include:

—Travel improvements where players are given premium economy airline tickets as well as individual rooms on road trips. In the past, players flew coach and some shared rooms.

—A more liberal free agency system that allows players to become unrestricted free agents sooner beginning next year if they aren't given the “core” designation by their team. It also drops the number of times a player can be so designated from four to three beginning this year and down to two beginning in 2022.

—Players receive their full salary while on maternity leave, are given two-bedroom apartments for players with children as well as workplace accommodations that provide privacy for nursing mothers.

—The league is also introducing family planning benefits of up to a $60,000 reimbursement for veteran players for costs directly related to adoption, surrogacy and fertility/infertility treatment.

—Enhanced mental health benefits and resources.

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Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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