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FOS PM: Netflix Adding Live Sports - FlagSpin

FOS PM: Netflix Adding Live Sports

The WNBA’s profile is arguably greater than ever, and the recent news of the league’s expansion will only increase its cache. But the brighter media spotlight can cover up a less promising reality for its players.

With an average salary of $113,295 — exponentially lower than their male counterparts — many players often look overseas for additional opportunities to supplement their incomes. Those international options are quickly dwindling. 

Russia was taken off the table in the wake of Brittney Griner’s 10-month imprisonment and the country’s invasion of Ukraine, leading many WNBA players to avoid the country in protest. Now, Israel is also not an option.

The Israeli Female Basketball Premier League — which had been a fruitful development ground for younger WNBA players — has suspended play indefinitely in the wake of the country’s ongoing war with Hamas. If and when play resumes, some WNBA players remain reluctant to go there.

“Honestly, my gut feeling is saying no,” said the Las Vegas Aces’ Alysha Clark, who has spent the last five offseasons playing in Israel. “I’d prefer to stay home and be with my family, be in the market in Vegas, and do that type of thing.”

Common Theme

Nearly half the league’s 144 players played in countries such as Australia, Israel, Italy, and Turkey during the past offseason. That attraction applies even to top players, as the 2023 WNBA maximum salary is $234,936. Even with a potential ceiling of $700,000 with bonuses and player marketing agreements, their earnings remain a fraction of those in men’s pro sports.

With the 2023 WNBA season nearing an end and several countries experiencing various levels of instability, finding new places to play has become harder than ever.

“I just want to find somewhere else to play, get the experience,” said the Connecticut Sun’s Leigha Brown. “At this point, I’m not picky — I just want to find something.”

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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