CA signs new five-year MoU in massive pay boost for female cricketers

Increase in WBBL salary cap, 25% hike for centrally contracted players could see multiple Australian women break the million-dollar bracket

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
The world champions strike a happy pose on the podium, South Africa vs Australia, Women's T20 World Cup 2023 final, Cape Town, February 26, 2023

CA will also increase the women's national contract list from 15 to 18  •  Gallo Images/Getty Images

Cricket Australia (CA) has poured money into the BBL and the WBBL under the new five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was signed on Monday to try and ensure both leagues remain competitive in the changing global landscape.
In a deal where the women's game was the huge financial winner, the WBBL salary cap has been doubled to AU$732,000 per team amid the increased competition from the Hundred and most significantly the WPL.
It comes as part of an MoU that could see multiple female Australian stars break the million-dollar bracket over the coming years alongside overseas earnings, with the top centrally-contracted player now able to earn AU$800,000 when a national deal and WBBL are combined. Domestically, the average earnings for a player with a WBBL and WNCL contract - which is around 75% of cricketers - will be A$151,000.
"I think we'll have a few of them [earning a million] in the next few years," Todd Greenberg, the Australia Cricketers' Association CEO, said. "Some of our girls who are playing in India earn significant amounts of money in the WPL, and on top of this deal now, they will become million-dollar athletes. And so they should because they're the best in the world at what they do.
"Unashamedly we stand here and want them to be remunerated at the levels that we are talking about. That is a wonderful thing, not only for those athletes but for every girl who wants to make a choice of what sport they want to play. Cricket is that choice and it's where you can achieve those things."

BBL boost to ward off new leagues

In the BBL, the salary cap has risen from AU$2 million to AU$3million with the top bracket of players now earning A$420,000 for a season in the competition. That money will also come across a shorter tournament after it was trimmed to a 10-game season under the new broadcast deal which begins in 2024, although it has yet to be confirmed if a reduced competition will start with the 2023-24 edition.
It is hoped that the new schedule will entice big-name overseas players to sign tournament-long deals, rather than start the BBL and then fly to either South Africa or the UAE as happened last season, while also ensuring more local players do not look to take the route of Chris Lynn who negotiated to split his time between the BBL and ILT20. The average BBL retainer will be worth AU$167,000.
"We're prioritising to make sure playing in the Big Bash is the destination for them," CA CEO Nick Hockley said. "We are excited about the fact that the BBL going forward will be that tighter 43-game format. Overall, the players on a played-match basis are more than doubling. With those levels, we think it makes it a really competitive proposition for domestic and overseas players."

Increased central contracts

CA will also increase the women's national contract list from 15 to 18, with a 25 percent pay increase for those players.
"Cricket now clearly offers the best earning opportunities of any team sport for elite female sportspeople," Hockley said. "I am particularly pleased that 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."
Centrally-contracted Australian male players will have their pay increase by 7.5 percent to an average of AU$ 951,000 before match payments, while the squad will increase to 24 players. That average figure will cross AU$ 1 million during the lifetime of the MoU.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo