Basketball-NZ pro women's league puts men in the shade by doubling pay

New Zealand's Antonia Edmondson goes for a basket against Czech Republic during their 2012 women's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ankara June 25, 2012. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

(Reuters) - New Zealand's professional women's basketball league is doubling player payments this season with the result that they are likely to be paid more than their male equivalents.

Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa had previously pegged wages to those of the men's National Basketball League but the commercial success of their first two seasons has allowed them to increase payments.

"This is a landmark event for basketball and for Aotearoa's women's sporting landscape in general," the league's general manager Maree Taylor said in a news release.

"This level of investment will drastically change the women's professional game in New Zealand with immediacy and the flow on effects will be felt for years to come."

New Zealand's Post reported that the players could earn as much as NZ$3,000 ($1,805) a week.

The league also announced the season would move from spring to summer for this year and that it was in negotiations to bring in teams from outside New Zealand to supplement the five existing franchises.

Megan Compain, the only New Zealander to have played in North America's Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) championship, said the moves would be transformational.

"A shift in season will make Tauihi even more attractive to WNBA players, and the prospect of international teams joining the league promises to make it one of the best in the world," she said.

"The players receiving a significant pay boost will financially put the teams ahead of many international leagues and really puts Tauihi on the map in a game that is played right around the world."

($1 = 1.6614 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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