Mark Reason on sports pay

Mark Reason writes at Stuff:

The All Whites and Football Ferns are pushing a collective agreement in the name of ‘equality.’ But true equality is a luxury that New Zealand Football cannot afford. So sorry all you mums and dads out there, but there is no way that New Zealand’s age group teams will soon be flying business to their tournaments courtesy of the governing body.

The idea of equality in sport is as absurdly false as the notion that Jacinda Ardern’s extended parental leave is aimed equally at men and women.  …

People ask if you support equality, implying that if you do not, then you must be a sexist or a racist or a bigot or a whatever. They want to shut down the discussion. And that makes equality one of the most dishonest words in the language.

Equality of opportunity is a very good thing. Equality of outcome is terrible. That is lowest common denominator. That is where everyone gets paid the same salary – labourers and brain surgeons. Equality of outcome means the hardest working get paid the same as the laziest.

There are two reasons (apart from historic prejudice) why NZF pays business class for the All Whites. The first reason is that the All Whites generate revenue. A World Cup place would mean financial security for New Zealand Football. The second is that the top Premiership players, the ones who stimulate fan interest, are not going to come over from England in the back of the bus. Their clubs simply would not release them.

All Whites business class seats are a necessity that come with a potential return on the investment that the Football Ferns cannot match. So when I hear Sarah Gregorius and Chris Wood pushing for “equality”, I think that their hearts are in the right place, but not their brains. Do Gregorius and Wood want to cut a junior programme because the Ferns are flying business?

It does all come back to return on investment.

Female models earn way more than men and male footballers earn way more than women because that is the marketplace. There are more women’s clothes shops on the high street than men’s, fuelled by women’s spending habits. There are more professional men’s sports matches than women’s, fuelled by men’s spending habits.

Do we ever hear complaints that male models are underpaid?

The market relies on our discrimination and we discriminate according to quality on a level playing field, not one defined by gender. So Brooks Koepka, the winner of the men’s Open at golf this year earned $US2.16 million. Sung Hyun Park won $US900,000 for winning the women’s US Open. And Kenny Perry won $US720,000 for winning the seniors US Open.

Here in New Zealand, Brooke Henderson’s prize money for winning the NZ Women’s Open was $US195,000, whereas Michael Hendry earned $US125,000 for winning the New Zealand Men’s Open. The likes of Hendry, Brad Kennedy and Ben Campbell are not the same draw as Henderson and Lydia Ko. Old man Perry is judged to be a third of the value as the athletic Koepka.

That is interesting. The prize money in NZ was higher for women’s golf than men’s golf. That is unequal. Should the women’s money be reduced to the same as the men? No – because there is more interest in NZ in women’s golf.

Same goes for netball. The Silver Ferns get paid up to around $50,000 a year. The NZ mens team I suspect get paid nothing. That is because far more people will pay to watch women’s netball than men’s netball.

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