It’s not about the money. Well, it’s not ALL about the money. It is the driving factor and the one thing that you can put a monetary value to, but this movement is for equal opportunity for the US Women’s National Team as the US Men's National Team. This issue runs so much deeper than a paycheck. And thus, a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.
In an article written by Wall Street Journal senior sports reporter Rachel Bachman, “In the suit, all 28 members of the U.S. women’s national team player pool allege U.S. Soccer has paid them less than the men’s team, along with denying them equal playing, training and travel conditions and promoting their games less.”
Let’s chat a bit about revenue: How much money each team is bringing in? According to the audited financial reports from the U.S. Soccer Federation, the U.S. women’s games generated more total revenue than the U.S. men’s games, in terms of gate receipts.
Gate receipts are a significant portion of revenue, but there are other contributing factors such as broadcast rights and T.V. deals. In terms of broadcasting rights, this is a key part of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s defense: “Any alleged pay differential between the men’s and women’s teams is based on the differences in the aggregate revenue generates by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.”
The two teams are separated by revenue, however, as stated by Bachman, U.S. Soccer sells broadcast rights and sponsorships as a bundle, and not separating USWNT and USMNT.
NEW: US Soccer says pay differences between its men’s and women’s teams are due partly to revenue differences. But in recent years the U.S. women brought in more game revenue than the men: https://t.co/P0tun325H3— Rachel Bachman (@Bachscore) June 17, 2019
Kudos to the organizations who are fighting alongside the USWNT for equal opportunity like VISA and Secret deodorant.
We believe women shouldn’t have to sweat equal pay. Female athletes embody #allstrengthnosweat, so we’ve pledged $100K to @GrlsLeadingGrls. Join Secret in showing support at https://t.co/SBx85yT1sa @malpugh @crysdunn_19 @alexmorgan13 @julieertz #soccer #equalpay #teamwork #cheer pic.twitter.com/D5jMsXAdy9— Secret Deodorant (@SecretDeodorant) March 19, 2019
This isn’t a dig on the men’s team. Yes, the women’s team is historically better with four Olympic gold medals and three World Cup titles (and currently playing for a fourth in France), while the men’s has never won and failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018.
It’s not just equal pay that the USWNT team is fighting for. It’s equal opportunity: travel amenities such as hotels and flights, playing surfaces (artificial turf vs. natural grass), everything similar to the USMNT.
Next up at the World Cup for the USWNT is against rival Sweden on Thursday at 11 a.m. (PT).