Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Cricket Australia: Women Cricketers big winners from new MOU

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Photo Credit: Melbourne Renegades

Cricket reaffirms its status as the most lucrative team sport for Australian women, with a 66% increase in payments to professional women cricketers.

A major increase in women’s remuneration is a key plank of a new five-year MOU between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) announced today. 
 
Under the agreement, women players will share in $133 million (increased from $80 million in the previous agreement) rewarding members of Australia’s world champion team while significantly increasing the value of WBBL and State contracts. 
 
As part of the new deal:

  • The top CA contract holder who also holds a WBBL contract can now earn more than $800,000 a year – with the capacity to break the $1 million mark with further earnings in the Women’s Premier League (India) and The Hundred (UK). 
  • The next six CA contract holders will have the potential to earn on average $500,000 when combined with a WBBL retainer as well as the other earnings opportunities above.  
  • The minimum and average CA Women’s contracts will increase 25%. 
  • The number of Women’s CA contracts will increase from 15 to 18 and all of those holding contracts will now be recognised as full-time athletes.  


Dual Format Domestic Female Players

 
Under the deal, domestic players who do not play for Australia, who play both WNCL (50 over) and WBBL (T20) formats can earn on average $151,019 annually (inclusive of match fees).  
 
This makes them on average the highest-paid female players of team sports in Australia by a significant margin. 
  
WBBL Salary Cap Doubling 
 
The substantial increase in women’s earnings extends through to the domestic game with the WBBL salary cap per team doubling to more than $732,000 each year.  
 
The top WBBL players can now earn up to $133,000, (including superannuation). 
The average WBBL player retainer will also double from approximately $26,900 to close to $54,200. The minimum WBBL retainer will jump by 30%.  
 
These players are also able to earn additional income in the WPL and The Hundred. 
The States (and the ACT) will have the ability to offer two additional contracts, increasing the number available to 16. There will be up to 130 contracts available across the national team and States and Territories and another 120 WBBL contracts.  
 
The increases in payments and contracts for women cricketers reflect the shared ambition of CA and the ACA to reward professional women players, provide a pathway to full-time professionalism and to inspire more girls to pursue a career in cricket.   
  
Further Parental Leave Advances 
 
Australian cricket’s world-leading Parental Leave Policy has been further improved. Not only does it provide guaranteed contracts and retainers while a player is on parental leave, but now also offers further payment to help cover match fees foregone. Flexibility and supports have also been introduced for players who are parents of the same child. 
  
Retaining the international competitiveness of the BBL  

The new agreement also recognises the competitive environment in which the BBL now operates by allowing for an increase in the annual Total Payment Pool from $2 million to $3 million per team.
  
The increase means: 

  • The top BBL players will now be able to earn approx $420,000 – helping to ensure the BBL attracts and retains the best players.  
  • Average BBL retainers increase by more than 50% in 2023-24 to approximately $167,000, with the minimum retainer to increase by more than 20%.    


CA Men  

 
The number of CA Men’s contracts will increase from 17-20 to 20-24 recognising the number of players now selected across various formats, with the value of those contracts to increase 7.5% in the first year and 2% p/a thereafter to an average $951,000 plus match payments and super in 2023-24.  
  
Wellbeing and Retirement Support 
 
Approx $20m will be allocated to player wellbeing and Player Development Managers across CA, States and the ACT and a further $20m will be paid to the players’ retirement fund. 
  
CA CEO, Nick Hockley said:   
 
“We are delighted to have reached an agreement on behalf of Australian Cricket that fairly rewards professional cricketers, while aligning with our strategy to grow and nurture the game at all levels.  

“I am particularly pleased this MOU represents another major step forward in the rise of women’s cricket, with significant increases in remuneration for the inspirational role models of the world champion Australian Women’s team and the WBBL who are driving substantial growth in female participation.  
 
“Cricket now clearly offers the best earning opportunities of any team sport for elite female sportspeople.

  
“At the same time, we have recognised the need to ensure that the BBL remains highly competitive in a changing global cricket landscape and we’re confident this agreement will help maintain its place at the heart of the Australian summer.  
 
“These negotiations were conducted in a constructive spirit of partnership and with the best interests of the game at heart. I would like to sincerely thank the ACA board, executive and members for helping to achieve a great outcome for cricket.”

Nick Hockley, CEO, Cricket Australia & Todd Greenberg, CEO, Australian Cricketers’ Association on April 3, 2023

Photo Credit: LinkedIn Profile Photo of Nick Hockley and Twitter Profile Photo of @Todd_Greenberg

ACA CEO, Todd Greenberg said:   
  
“There is a commitment by all parties in cricket to grow the game – which is what fundamentally underlines the revenue share agreement. We believe that the outcome from this new deal lays the foundation for that growth.  
 
“There is enormous capacity for growth right across the women’s game, as well as the BBL, both of which we believe have enormous untapped potential.  
 
“Our men and women will benefit from significant investment into the BBL and WBBL, which will help ensure we have the best players playing – something that is fundamental to the success of any sporting competition. 
 
“Importantly, we have hardwired into the MOU a mechanism that will identify and act on opportunities to further progress the women’s game during the course of the MOU through a Women’s Cricket Working Group”.
 
Significant features of the new MOU include:  
  
Total Revenue Share  

  • Professional players will share $634 million over five years – a 26% increase from an equivalent value ($502 million) shared under the current agreement – plus a performance pool of $57 million.  
  • The 30% player share of agreed revenue has been maintained, 2.5% of which is performance based.     


Women’s Cricket  

  • There will be a total increase of 66% in payments to women cricketers to $133 million over five years – increased from $80 million under the previous agreement.  
  • The number of CA Women’s contracts has been increased from 12-15 to 15-18.  
  • The WBBL Total Payment Pool will double from $366,000 pa to $732,000 and total WBBL player payments will increase from $3.7 million in 2022-23 to $7 million 2023-24.  
  • There will be two further contracts per State and Territory meaning there will be up to 130 women’s contracts available across national teams, the WBBL and State and Territories.  
  • Players with a State (or ACT) and WBBL contract will earn an average of $151,019 per-season (including up to $25,000 match fees and super) – increased from $96,000 in 2022-23 (in turn increased from $55,000 in 2017-18).    


Men’s Cricket  

  • The number of CA Men’s contracts will increase from 17-20 to 20-24.  
  • The value of CA Men’s contracts will increase by 7.5% plus 2% per annum to an average of $951,000 plus match payments and super in 2023-24 and rising to more than $1 million in 2026-27.
  • The BBL Total Payment Pool will increase from $2 million to $3 million, ensuring competitiveness with other global T20 leagues.  
  • BBL total player payments will increase from $18.6 million in 2022-23 to $27.6 million in 2023-24.  
  • Average BBL per-game payment (including retainer and match fee) will increase 113% from $7,815 in 2022-23 to $16,667. 
  • The number of men’s State contracts remains at 17-20, with a gradual increase in remuneration (3.5% in the first year, increasing the average retainer to more than $103,000, and 2% per year thereafter).   

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