The New South Wales Breakers has put all squad members on full time contracts, increasing the minimum salary from AU$11,000 to at least AU$35,000. Players now have the potential to earn more than AU$100,000 when playing both domestically and internationally.Combined with Cricket Australia increasing total payments for domestic and international players, Cricket NSW secured sponsorship from Lendlease which ensured this landmark moment for elite female participation in sport.
Despite smashing the glass ceiling for “6”, the female wage is still well below their male counterparts whose minimum contract wage is AU$60,500. However Cricket Australia, in consultation with the Australian Crickets’ Association, is providing elite female players with improved travel and accommodation benefits, an updated pregnancy policy, restrictions on weekday hours of domestic team training to support female players working or studying, and reduced commercial restrictions for the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) and the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) players in relation to major sponsors.
This follows on from Netball Australia’s announcement that the minimum salary for players in the national league will double to AU$27,375 with additional benefits such as private health insurance and paying for children and a carer to travel with players to games. This holistic approach is what will give elite female athletes more opportunity to excel in their field.
With the spotlight well and truly on both Cricket NSW and Lendlease and the increasing media coverage Australian broadcasters are giving female athletes, it will be interesting to see if other brands will jump into this untapped market.