New Deal Provides Players With Free Agency System

WNBA and Players Association Sign Labor Agreement

NEW YORK, April 25, 2003 – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNPA) announced today that they have signed a new collective bargaining agreement covering four seasons with a league option for a fifth year. The agreement introduces the first free agency system in women’s professional sports.

In addition to free agency, the new collective bargaining agreement guarantees an increase of 4% per year in the amount teams will spend on WNBA salaries, totaling more than 17% over the four-year life of the agreement. In the first year of the agreement, minimum salaries for veterans will increase five percent to $42,000, while minimum salaries for rookies are maintained at $30,000.

As the players and the league work together to grow the WNBA, the new collective bargaining agreement also allows players to share in the league's success by participating in WNBA revenue growth, based on certain ticket sales targets. In addition, the agreement provides WNBA players with expanded opportunities to secure individual endorsement contracts.

The 2003 WNBA Draft will be held today at 1:00 PM/ET. The Draft will be televised live nationally, with round one on ESPN2 and all three rounds on NBA TV, the 24-hour television network of the NBA and WNBA. Teams will open training camp on May 1, and preseason games will commence on May 6. The WNBA season will open as scheduled on May 22.

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