With New York honoring the U.S. Women's team today, expect the equal pay argument to ramp up. With that said, let's debunk some of the biggest arguments that leftists are using to stump for equal pay between men and women in soccer.
"The women's soccer team earns significantly less than the men's"
The total prize money for the Women's World Cup this year was $30 million compared to the $440 million for the men's team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Many believe that this gap in criminal. How can men making 10 times what female players make be fair? The answer is simple: the revenue pool is bigger for men's soccer. What's more, when viewed objectively -- based on how much each competition generates -- women actually make more than men.
The leading advocate for equal pay for the women's team, Megan Rapinoe has publicly condemned FIFA for this pay gap. Just last night, she appeared on “MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show" to bash President Donald Trump, pander to her base, and call for a change in pay.
If you’re not down with equal pay or equality by now, you’re so far out of reality and the conversation that we can’t even go there. Nobody wants this contentious fight all the time," Rapinoe said during the interview.
But according to Forbes, stats prove that total revenue is the real culprit, and women actually make more than men based on the percentages:
As Dwight Jaynes pointed out four years ago after the U.S. women beat Japan to capture the World Cup in Vancouver, there is a big difference in the revenue available to pay the teams. The Women's World Cup brought in almost $73 million, of which the players got 13%. The 2010 men's World Cup in South Africa made almost $4 billion, of which 9% went to the players.
The men still pull the World Cup money wagon. The men's World Cup in Russia generated over $6 billion in revenue, with the participating teams sharing $400 million, less than 7% of revenue. Meanwhile, the Women's World Cup is expected to earn $131 million for the full four-year cycle 2019-22 and dole out $30 million to the participating teams.
This figure shows that women's revenue in soccer severely lags behind the men's. On top of that, if women were paid the same total as men, they would be making almost four times more than they actually generate.
That's an insane proposition given how much more men generate in revenue.
Which leads us to our next point...
"The women's soccer team is now earning more revenue than the men's team"
The #1 argument that feminists are making for equal pay is the fact that the women's soccer team is finally generating more revenue than the men. While the gap has closed in recent years, historically, the men's soccer team has generated more revenue.
While women's soccer has kept up with men in the revenue department since their World Cup victory in 2015, this number only takes into account tickets sales -- not the all-important TV deals and sponsorships. Ticket sales only make up one-quarter the U.S. Soccer Federation's (USSF) operating revenue. Meanwhile, sponsorships generated half of the entire revenue, according to the USSF financial documents for the 2018 fiscal year.
In regards to ticket sales, people are not attending their games because they are women. Like the Summer and Winter Olympics, Americans will watch and display their patriotism at any game -- regardless of gender or sport. If the U.S. has a chance to win, Americans are more likely to shell out dollars to support their country.
The people calling for equal pay aren't watching these women play for their professional clubs. How many calling for equality of pay know that Alex Morgan plays professionally for the Orlando Pride? Or that Megan Rapinoe plays for the Reign FC?
The majority of people embroiled in the ongoing debate are supporting these women because they play for the U.S. team -- and that's OK. But if you're going to support these women on the basis of equal pay, shouldn't you support them year-round?
And this is where the root of the problem lies. Sponsorships are the real culprit, not misogyny. The majority of revenues come mainly from broadcasting and sponsorships. While it's difficult to parse out which teams contribute more to these revenues because U.S. Soccer sells sponsorships and broadcasting rights as a bundled package, it's been debated that men are the bigger draw to these advertisers.
As a whole, men's soccer is currently a more valuable product — especially on the international stage. It's not surprising, then, that men in the U.S. continue to pull in more from sponsors.
While this may change with the recent performance from the women's team, to artificially inflate women's pay without the available resources is impossible.
"The women's team have won more than the men's team"
The "ace up the sleeve" for many advocating for equal pay, many have made the claim that the success the women's soccer team has had is proof that they deserve more money than the men. While the women's club has won four World Cups -- compared to zero for the men -- this argument falls apart when thoroughly examined.
First, winning in one gender's sport does not equate to equal pay across the spectrum. Case in point: NBA team versus WNBA teams.
The Minnesota Lynx -- a WNBA team -- has won four championships since the inaugural 1997 WNBA season. Likewise, the Minnesota Timberwolves -- an NBA franchise -- has won zero championships since they were founded in 1989. So does this mean that the women who play for the Lynx deserve more money than the men who play on the Timberwolves?
Absolutely not. Again, going back to sponsors, the NBA is a more ad-friendly league for partnerships. According to the Seattle Times, the NBA generated $7.4 billion in 2016-17, according to Forbes, which is likely more than 100 times that of the WNBA. This is because of basic economics, not a phantom gender pay gap.
On top of that, NBA players, like male soccer players, have a biological advantage. While that may trigger many, it's no secret that the male body has a significant edge over the female body. Men are physically stronger, faster and can jump higher. This alone makes the games more exciting, and the competition more difficult.
While some WNBA players can dunk, they're not throwing down a windmill slam in the middle of a game. I'm sorry, but there has never been a Vince Carter in the WNBA, and there's a biological reason why.
Like men's soccer, NBA is a more appealing sport, being broadcast at a higher volume than the WNBA. They have more lucrative TV deals, more advertisers and better athletes. On top of that, they play longer seasons -- 82 games compared to 34 -- and have almost triple the teams the WNBA has.
To assume that there is a culture in sports promulgating inequality among genders is asinine. There's a reason why Ronda Rousey was one of the highest-paid fighters when she was at the top of her game. It not because the UFC valued women over men, or men over women. It's because she was the biggest draw. She headlined every PPV, was marketed extensively, and she had sponsors and advertisers lining up at her front door. She didn't excel in one area, but rather all area.
And that is what is being lost in the argument between the soccer pay gap. It's not enough to just dominate on the field. It's not enough that your ticket sales are higher because you're winning. You have to have sponsors, advertisers, and overwhelming demand for your product.
The pay gap between men and women is soccer has less to do with male privilege, and more to do with basic economics. If women want to be paid more in soccer, they have to get more fans and more support from the marketing community. People have to be willing to support the team with their dollar, not their politics.
As for the current state of pay in soccer, there's a word for that: fair.