With the AFLW fixture finally revealed and 98% of the AFLPA agreeing to "landmark" CBA negotiations, it's time to have a good look at just how big a pie is up for grabs...
The AFLW player payments listed in the competition's new collective bargaining agreement operates on a tiered system, which increases year on year for the duration of the three-year agreement.
The CBA's major sticking point was the lack of a full season for each AFLW team. The now 14 team competition, up from 10 sides last season, will only stage a 10 match season per club.
The players were edging for a 13-game season in which every team faced each other once, but a new conference design - similar to the system in the NBA - reduces the amount of travel and team expenditure required by clubs in Queensland and Western Australia.
TIERED PAYMENT SYSTEM
|AFLW player payments 2019-2022|
FINALS, DEVELOPMENT AND TOTAL PRIZE POOL
The $232,000 prize pool for AFLW finals this season raises to $246,500 by 2022, while players who make the Grand Final also receive an extra week's payment.
There is also a substantial increase in funding for player development, as the AFLW seeks to cement its place as the breeding ground for top female athletes in a highly competitive market.
Over the CBA period, investment in player development will rise from $285,000 to $470,000 per year and every club will have their own AFLW player development manager.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO AFL?
A SUBSTANTIAL RAISE
This is a significant increase on the player payments for the AFLW's 2018 season, with the rapid increase in popularity of the sport also leading to the organisation's decision to make some matches ticketed for the upcoming fixture.
While players received a total increase of over $500,000 heading into the 2018 season after the competition's inagural campaign, they now stand to earn
2018 AFLW Payments
In 2018, the minimum wage lifted from $8,500 to $10,500.
Tier 1 players were paid $20,000 (up from $17,000), tier 2 players $14,500 (up from $12,000) and rookie list players $8,500.
By 2022, tier 1 AFLW players will earn over $20,000 more than they earned in 2017.
WORKING FOR THE MONEY
In 2018, players were contracted to train for 13 hours per week in pre-season and 10 hours per week during the regular season. This doesn't include matches, travel and sponsorship or media commitments.
The wage also isn't necessarily reflective of the total income of tier 1 players, who are liable to earn more in individual sponsorship or marketing arrangements. Although at the present time, this is fairly limited relative to male sports.
WHAT THE AFLW SAID
The AFLW's recent CBA negotiations were delayed by a 70% vote in favour by AFLPA members of the original deal, when a 75% or higher level is required to form a mandate.
The new and improved deal, in which issues such as greater notice for fixturing and greater clarity over the finer points of the agreement were reportedly improved upon, garnered a 98% agreement.
Head of AFL Women's, Nicole Livingstone, said after the negotiation was finalised that there was still more work to be done.
"There's some work to be done with the AFLPA and the AFLW players in terms of setting what it is they would like to look at from an AFLW competition point of view and the areas of focus," Livingstone said in reference to the review.
"That will then come into the AFL and we'll have a chat about what the terms of reference look like and then we'll move forward from there.
"Another area of concern was their first payment, which wasn't coming through till December. So therefore, there was a month they weren't getting paid, or being paid late for. Once we know that, then we can fix it. They'll be now paid within two weeks of entering the clubs.
"It's not a breakdown in communication, it's more this competition is so new, so we're discovering things as we go along that aren't just an issue for the playing group, but also for the competition itself."