WNBA insider weighs in on if Caitlin Clark’s impact could lead to a player’s strike after the 2024 season

Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

While everyone is excited about the massive amount of new interest Caitlin Clark could bring to the WNBA for the 2024 season, the league’s increased success could lead to a potential player strike later this year.

Heading into the WNBA games today, the interest level for the league is on a very nice upward swing. The league was heading in a positive direction already, but the addition of college basketball superstar Caitlin Clark and several other big-name rookies, like Cameron Brink and Angel Reese, has created even more momentum for the new season.

This is expected to be a big year for the WNBA and it could not have come at a better time for its players. The money and benefits athletes in the league receive are nowhere close to other notable sports leagues and 2024 may be the year they close the gap with the current CBA set to expire after this season.

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In a conversation this week, Sportsnaut asked ESPN WNBA reporter Alexa Philippou if the negotiations for the next CBA could become a huge story later this year. The veteran women’s basketball reporter admitted it was already headed in that direction, but the league seems to be aware of the leverage players will have and that is why they finally gave into long-time cries for chartered flights for away games.

“Obviously, a lot of the metrics we look for to show popularity were headed in the right direction for the WNBA. And now Caitlin Clark and these rookies have elevated all of those to a whole new level,” Philippou said. “And we’ve seen that already because the WNBA’s implementing full-time charters earlier than anyone expected. They thought that would have to be collectively bargained over in the next CBA negotiations for the next agreement.”

But will finally getting chartered flights be enough for players who only average just over $102,000 a year? If ratings and revenue for the WNBA hit new highs, the players would have a massive amount of leverage in upcoming negotiations and may strike if they want to take a stand to get more of what they have deserved for a long time.

ESPN WNBA insider does not see Caitlin Clark and other players striking after the season

caitlin clark
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

However, Philippou does not get the sense a strike could happen later this year since the league already addressed a major issue for players. But she does admit there is still a whole bunch of time before now and the end of the 2024 WNBA season.

“I haven’t been able to ask players [about a potential strike] or catch on if that’s something in their minds,” says Philippou. “I don’t get that sense because I do feel the league understands that this is the direction things are going. I think the chartering issue is the biggest that players had. We did a player survey and travel was the top issue that they identified when asked about the biggest issues facing the league.

Also Read: WNBA TV ratings – Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut crushes NHL playoffs

“In my mind, the league was able to take a lot of pressure off itself by figuring out the charter issue so early, and earlier than anyone expected, so I’m not sure I see a strike in the future but the power is with the players and if there’s stuff that they want and they don’t believe the league is able to provide for it that could, obviously, be very contentious,” she added.

“But there’s a lot that can happen between now and then too.”

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