Gender pay gap in sports

The Washington Post reports:

Five key members of the U.S. women’s soccer team have filed a federal complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging wage discrimination. In the complaint, the players cite USSF figures from last year showing that they were paid nearly four times less than men’s players despite generating much more revenue.

My first reaction to this story was that there is no issue if a national team of one gender is paid less than a national team of the other gender.

I imagine NZ has a men’s netball team. No one would expect that team to be paid as much as the Silver Ferns. Likewise I doubt anyone expects the Black Ferns to be paid as much as the All Blacks.

The team that attracts the most spectators and viewers is the one you expect to get paid more.

However in this case, the female soccer players have a pretty good case:

The pay disparities exist even though the U.S. women have been successful not only on the field, but also at the ticket booth and in terms of television ratings. The team’s 5-2 win over Japan in last year’s World Cup final was the second-most-watched soccer match in U.S. television history, with 25.4 million viewers. That’s also the largest television audience for a game involving a U.S. national team; the biggest audience for a U.S. men’s game was 18.2 million for a USA-Portugal World Cup match in 2014.

The women’s team also has pulled in comparable revenue to the men’s team.

Their revenue is $50 million compared to $60 million, yet they get paid around 20% of the men. I think they have a very good case.

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