How Corona is Turning The Women's Basketball World Upside Down

  • 1 year ago

The season of the Women's Professional Basketball League came to a sudden end on March 12th due to the corona pandemic. Contrary to many other leagues, the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) decided not to pause or suspend some games. At first glance, the immediate termination of the season might seem hasty and the season's rating also seems insufficiently thought out at second glance.

The End of The Season and The Consequences

Terminated Contracts

The sudden end of the Women's Professional Basketball League season meant, on the one hand, that there was no decision as to how the season would be rated: Does the table on the 21st day count or not? On the other hand, many contracts of players and coaches ended, because the contracts often contain the clause “until the last game”. Understandable from the club's point of view, because the playoffs that did not take place led to a lack of sponsorship money and spectator income. In addition, there were additional costs, such as flight changes for players.

Missing Salaries

For the teams in positions 9 to 12 of the table, the premature end of the season made little difference, as their season would have ended two days later anyway. For the players and coaches of the first eight clubs, the decision could result in a loss of salary, as many contracts ended in mid-March instead of when they were eliminated from the playoffs. For the two finalists who would probably have played until the end of April / beginning of May, this means up to seven weeks less salary!

Unemployed Trainers

In addition, players and coaches have the advantage of either going on short-time work or unemployment. This means that they still receive part of their salary (usually 60%) and are still insured. Many other foreign players are denied this benefit in their home country.

Compared to some men's sports, there are seldom reserves in women's basketball. However, one has to distinguish between European players who have been in the business for many years, who can certainly build up reserves, and the many so-called rookies who are gaining their first international experience. American women in particular often play below the prescribed minimum wage. It is not uncommon for an American woman to earn only 600 euros a month. Often, contracts are also financed on several tracks or student players are given preference. Many clubs also offer additional services provided by sponsors such as a furnished apartment, meals in a restaurant, a monthly ticket or a vehicle.

Broken Dreams

What is left then, especially in the event of an injury or a pandemic, the young athletes usually do not think about it. After all, they just want to get their foot in the door and realize their dream of becoming a professional. Most just hope that after a year or two of showing what they can do, this will change on its own. The dream has only one handicap: if the players fail to make the leap into a financially stronger league, it will burst. Clubs that are struggling to survive will not have any more money available in a year or two and have to fall back on a rookie every season because they can no longer pay if they wanted to.

The Current Situation And How to Deal With The Restrictions

Fitness studios, sports halls and public sports facilities are and will remain closed for the time being. This means a major limitation for all athletes. However, the situation in the USA is much better than in some other countries, such as Italy. Outdoor sports are allowed and you should take advantage of this. You can also keep fit within your own four walls. As a professional athlete you know enough exercises that you can do at home with little means, even if they are not specific to the sport. If there is a lack of creativity, there are currently numerous online offers.

Especially for basketball players, the restrictions shouldn't be too great, as the pandemic falls almost exactly during the break of the season. In addition, all national team events and the FIBA ​​competitions have been postponed, so maybe it's time to heal your injuries and let your body heal.

Inappropriate Easing

On the other hand, relaxation in certain sports, such as small group training for footballers, is unsuitable. If so, then the first easing should come with individual sports and not with the financially strongest sport in the USA.

Furthermore, young female basketball players should take the chance and work on a plan B. Many complete their education before they get into professional business, others have to complete it on the side. It is not easy to do your studies or training "on the side", but it is necessary and the corona pandemic gives you time for it right now. Women are encouraged by numerous coaches and fitness experts. However, the trend of women basketball is continuously being increasing. A complete basketball costume is suitable while playing, check out women basketball shorts.

The Prospect Of The Coming Season

Of course, COVID-19 also affects women's basketball, like all other industries. The effects will probably be more fatal than in many other sports, because women's basketball is still a marginal sport. The existence of the clubs depends immensely on the loss of sponsors, even small ones. This means that not only the number of clubs is at stake, but also the quality of the teams. The performance of the league in international comparison could decline. Another problem: the number of jobs to be allocated will decrease. 

Difficult Coaching Market

On the other hand, it looks very different on the market for trainers. In many countries, clubs only hire local coaches, which is why it is very difficult to gain a foothold in the Spanish, Italian or French coaching markets. 

The main reason is once again the money. Foreign coaches usually bring inexpensive players from their home country with them, which is also convenient for many clubs. Most of the coaching positions are given to foreign candidates, especially at the beginning of a season. If a contract is terminated during the season, a solution is often sought in the internal ranks and the coaching position may then be filled with an American person, not infrequently when it is already too late.

Uncertain Future

There might be another women's basketball league in autumn 2020. Many clubs will go for the delayed start of the season and the issuing of some requirements for the licensing process by the WNBA. Both, again to the disadvantage for the employees - players and coaches. Due to the postponed start of the season, they do not receive a fixed salary for a longer period of time, because in basketball, only seasonal contracts are common in many clubs. On the other hand, there is a higher risk that clubs will go bankrupt during the season and the employees will lose their jobs. 

In addition, seasonal contracts with coaches are no longer up-to-date, because especially in summer you have to work on the individual skills and athleticism of the players in order to be able to make connections in international comparison in the long term. In addition, coaches have more time during the season break to get children excited about the sport of basketball and thus create a broad surface.

Whether all these things really have an impact on the development of American players remains to be seen, but the pandemic will probably not change anything in the cohesion of women's basketball, because money will continue to rule the basketball world even after Corona. 

What Can Each Individual Do?

We are all affected by the pandemic - financially, economically, healthily - in many ways. Anyone, who now has an income, can really be grateful. Even if there are financial restrictions, do not cancel your membership in the sports club! If you can afford it, support him with voluntary work or maybe even a donation and when the season starts again, there is no connection to free entry to a game, but pay the entry and ideally bring someone with you. As simple as it sounds, it is that simple!