Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese hint at upcoming WNBA labor strife

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese have just entered the WNBA, but they are already dropping breadcrumbs that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is due for an overhaul.

Last week, after Clark was seen walking through the airport and getting filmed by onlookers before a commercial flight, she spoke to reporters at an Indiana Fever press event and offhandedly mentioned that, oh by the way, the CBA is set to expire.

“I think the CBA’s up for negotiation after this season. We can opt out of it. And certainly the new media rights deal will have a big update on that too,” Clark said.
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts to scoring three points Thursday, May 9, 2024, during the preseason game against the Atlanta Dream at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts after scoring on Thursday,
May 9, 2024, during a preseason game against the Atlanta Dream at
Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK


Coincidentally or not, the WNBA announced this past week that all teams will be flying charter this season after years of angst over commercial travel.

The flights aren’t the only issue.

Star players have long had to play overseas to supplement their incomes, an issue that was magnified when Brittney Griner was detained for months in Russia after a marijuana vape cartridge was found in her luggage at an airport.

Clark, who will drive tens of millions of dollars in revenue (and possibly over $100 million) to the WNBA by herself as a rookie this season, stands to earn about $76,000 in salary.

Reese spoke to reporters at the Chicago Sky’s media day earlier this week, after the charter flight announcement, about the upward trajectory the WNBA is on — and how the players intend to share in the spoils.

“Games are going to be packed,” Reese said, as covered by ESPN.

“Standing-room only sometimes. We might get those. They just told us when I go back home to Washington, we’re playing where the Wizards play. So the change is happening and it’s not going to stop here. We’re in a great direction with the charter flights. Being able to have that, that’s a step in the right direction.

“The [collective bargaining agreement] stuff is about to happen within the next year, too, so just understanding the gravitation we have, everything is in our hands right now to control.”

The WNBA is in expansion mode.
Angel Reese with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected seventh overall by the Chicago Sky during the first round of the WNBA basketball draft on Monday, April 15, 2024, in New York.Angel Reese with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected seventh overall by the Chicago Sky during the first round of the WNBA basketball draft on Monday, April 15, 2024, in New York.AP
The New York Liberty sold in the range of $10-14 million to Joe and Clara Tsai just five years ago, according to CNBC.

Last year, Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber paid a $50 million expansion fee for a new team in the Bay Area.

This week, it was reported that Toronto will have an expansion team in 2026, and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has spoken about wanting to bring back the Houston Comets.


What do you think? Post a comment.

It is not an accident that incoming star players like Clark and Reese are already starting to talk about their cut of the WNBA’s future.