four times less
March 31, 2016 6:18 AM   Subscribe

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Solo said. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.” Five members of the World Cup-winning USWNT have filed a wage discrimination complaint against US Soccer for being paid less than then men's team "despite the women’s team being more successful and, at the moment, more profitable."
posted by everybody had matching towels (83 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is pretty awesome.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:23 AM on March 31, 2016 [16 favorites]


Kessler would not comment on the possibility of a work stoppage ahead of this summer’s Olympics. Hope Solo, in a call with reporters this morning, would not rule it out.
Pleasepleasepleaseplease...
posted by Etrigan at 6:25 AM on March 31, 2016 [11 favorites]


Just when I thought they couldn't possibly *be* more awesome...there they go again!
posted by sallybrown at 6:32 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


"The men’s most notable achievement in the past half-century was a quarterfinal appearance at the 2002 World Cup."
posted by ChuraChura at 6:35 AM on March 31, 2016 [21 favorites]


“But the women have without dispute vastly outperformed the men not just on the playing field but econonomically for the U.S.S.F. The women have generated all the money in comparison with the men.”
posted by ChuraChura at 6:39 AM on March 31, 2016 [20 favorites]


Here's your problem. Check out the gender mix...
posted by jim in austin at 6:41 AM on March 31, 2016 [22 favorites]


I love that its Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Alex Morgan. No one can credibly try to distract from the real issues by claiming these aren't good players, that this is just sour grapes, etc. I mean, people can try and I'm sure someone will, but Carli Lloyd scored a hat trick in the first 16 minutes of a World Cup final.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 6:46 AM on March 31, 2016 [12 favorites]


This chart, illustrating the USWNT/USMNT pay gap, is [insert favorite adjective].
posted by zakur at 6:48 AM on March 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


I not only hope they prevail but that it sets a precedent for other women's sports. The pay gap is simply ridiculous and shameful.
posted by tommasz at 6:52 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


This chart, illustrating the USWNT/USMNT pay gap, is [insert favorite adjective].

Best part of that compensation chart:

Post-World Cup Victory Tour (Men's): N/A

lol
posted by leotrotsky at 6:56 AM on March 31, 2016 [40 favorites]


This chart, illustrating the USWNT/USMNT pay gap, is [insert favorite adjective].

Particularly illustrative lines:

The USWNT players only get paid to win friendlies; the USMNT gets nearly four times as much just for showing up.

The USMNT has bonuses for top-three World Cup finishes. Ha, is all that can be said to that.

The USWNT gets zero bonuses for World Cup qualification, individual games, first round points, or second round advancement. I guess those are just givens for the women, while the men need $8M worth of incentives to get out of the prelims.

The USWNT attendance ticket revenue bonus is 80 percent of the USMNT's per ticket. Literally the most obvious "Well, if you can get people to the games..." incentive.

Per diem is similarly 80 percent of the men's numbers for the women. Exactly 80 percent. Because 79 percent would have been too obvious.
posted by Etrigan at 6:58 AM on March 31, 2016 [46 favorites]


The real question is why do people watch more men's soccer than women's soccer - Fox Sports in the US pulls about $17 mil for women's soccer, versus $500 mil for men's soccer.

The revenue disparity alone would indicate a 30 to 1 difference in salary if players were paid based on revenue generation.

In fact, the chart shown in the article itself - shows that in the most recent year (2015), the men's events brought in 28 mil vs 3 mil for women's events. And it deliberately excludes the FIFA world cup revenues (as above) which are the lion's share of sponsorship money.
posted by xdvesper at 6:59 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


well this wikipedia page for US at World Cup only talks about the men's team.
so i can't even find the info i'm looking for easily and wouldn't even know the women's team played in the world cup based on this page.

so if the NYT article and what i can tell from wikipedia is correct, the men's team has NEVER won a world cup and the women's team has won THREE since 1991? and they aren't making the big bucks?

wow.
posted by sio42 at 7:00 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm sure they justify it saying they need the money to attract male athletes from other more lucrative American sports. This is, in local parlance, known as "throwing good money after bad." You have an already awesome women's team, maybe focus on that instead?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:05 AM on March 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


This also comes at a moment when the Men's team has struggled in the World Cup qualifiers against football powerhouses like Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago.

(Seriously, there was a moment this week where it looked like the USMNT might not even make it to the final round of the North and Central American qualifiers, and even after winning this week, they need to win their next two to guarantee that they will advance.)
posted by firechicago at 7:08 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, now there's got to be a men's vs. women's match to settle this, right?

Don't tell me every sports movie I've ever seen has lied to me about how these things are resolved?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 7:10 AM on March 31, 2016 [23 favorites]


the women could win the world cup again and then pay the USNMT and win and the men would say "oh well they were all warmed up from playing in the world cup, while we've been warming the bench"

the women and men's teams could both have the same period of rest and practice and the women could win and the men's team would say "oh well we didn't play as hard because they're girls."


that said i do very much want to see a head to head.

i think the women would win.
posted by sio42 at 7:26 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


The USWNT players only get paid to win friendlies; the USMNT gets nearly four times as much just for showing up.

Just to be clear, the women are also salaried at $72k/yr., while the men aren't. The women clearly, in my opinion, deserve to be paid much more, but it's important to get the facts right.
posted by paulcole at 7:27 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the biggest issue here is not the lack of pay but the lack of marketing. How can a US team win three World Cups and be relatively unheard of?
posted by enamon at 7:29 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have always seen the men's team players tweet/express solidarity and respect to their women counterparts on other issues (like playing on turf instead of grass). Don't throw the players under the bus alongside the terrible USSF leadership.
posted by Tevin at 7:30 AM on March 31, 2016 [20 favorites]


I feel extremely conflicted. One of my big personal focuses in my job is closing the gender gap in tech, particularly Computer Science. And I've ripped more than one parent a new one for suggesting that their daughter might not be particularly suited for a given career.

At the same time, I host tons of couchsurfers. Anytime the subject of soccer comes up, nobody wants to talk about women's soccer. At all. Even when I'm hosting women. It's just not seen as equal internationally, and it doesn't draw internationally.

When women argue about equality in international sports, the battles they choose to pick tend to be the ones where the crowds they draw are equal to the men. In the entertainment industry, this makes perfect sense. If you're making the bosses just as much money as another entertainer, you deserve just as much of a cut as that entertainer.

I went to severalHouston Dash games last year. I was very entertained, even if the Dash didn't win any of them. But the tickets are 60% of the cost of the Houston Dynamo's (men's team) tickets. Would the Dash be able to survive if the tickets cost as much as the Dynamo's? I don't think so.

It sucks. But it's reality. So go support your local women's team if you want to help fix it. I know I will.
posted by parliboy at 7:36 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I went to severalHouston Dash games last year. I was very entertained, even if the Dash didn't win any of them. But the tickets are 60% of the cost of the Houston Dynamo's (men's team) tickets. Would the Dash be able to survive if the tickets cost as much as the Dynamo's? I don't think so.

But when the USWNT plays friendlies and qualifiers at stadiums in the U.S., they sell more tickets. That's why they are currently more profitable than the USMNT.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 7:41 AM on March 31, 2016 [11 favorites]


well this wikipedia page for US at World Cup only talks about the men's team.
so i can't even find the info i'm looking for easily and wouldn't even know the women's team played in the world cup based on this page.


To be fair, it's because that link is for the "FIFA World Cup," (not World Cup) which only men play in. Women play in the FIFA Women's World Cup which is not the same tournament.
posted by tittergrrl at 7:43 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


The real question is why do people watch more men's soccer than women's soccer

Short answer: the patriarchy.

Long answer: the paaaaaaatriaaaaaaarchy.
posted by Mayor West at 7:48 AM on March 31, 2016 [105 favorites]


Also this is awesome and I'm almost as excited about the prospect of watching millions of internet commenters cry out in terror and be suddenly silenced, as I am about the prospect of high-profile work toward wage equality.
posted by Mayor West at 7:50 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's a doubly bad situation for the women because they don't have their club careers to fall back on (the women's domestic league salaries are embarrassingly low). Granted only a few of the USMNT players enjoy multi-million dollar contracts but most of them make many multiples of the 72K salaries and are able to put themselves on a thriving global market.

They can't make this argument directly but to me, because they can't make a living anywhere else, the federation should doubly go out of their way to compensate them fairly compared to the men and in addition to the women devoting their best years to be represent the US as the best in the world.
posted by Tevin at 7:55 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


Soccer Wire report:
U.S. Soccer releases annual budget figures; reveals USWNT as cash cow


And Philly.com published a detailed budget breakdown.


CASH COW PEOPLE.



(I also feel compelled to put a link to Formation here, but will refrain. Feel free to hum along as you peruse the budget. Best revenge is your paper.)
posted by littlewater at 8:01 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


But when the USWNT plays friendlies and qualifiers at stadiums in the U.S., they sell more tickets. That's why they are currently more profitable than the USMNT.

I get that they sell more tickets. Do the tickets cost the same? I think the women's tickets were $35 each, and I would (unfortunately) wager that the men's tickets will go for higher, despite their lackluster performance. I would be perfectly happy with saying that both women and men get, say, 3% of the face price of each ticket sold, and then letting the market bear it out. I'd really like everything to be based on a percentage of revenue in some form, really. Then we could let market forces determine things. But I don't think anyone on either side of the dispute is comfortable with that kind of uncertainty.

Additionally, we also have to look to FIFA as part of the problem here. Much of "Exhibit 2" is based on World Cup payouts. And FIFA does set those world cup payouts themselves. If the women want to try to sue FIFA, then go for it. But going after US Soccer for that is probably not fair.

I'm not going to argue that every line in the table in the exhibit is equitable. And frankly, screw turf playing surfaces. But honestly, to get a better idea as to how I should feel, I'd rather compare the women's agreement with the previous men's agreement.
posted by parliboy at 8:05 AM on March 31, 2016


I think it takes a lot of courage for them to stand up and say, "We're worth more than this." I follow women's soccer second-hand via a friend who is a devoted fan, and I have a great deal of respect for the team. I'm proud of them for naming their worth and asking to have it recognized in this way.
posted by not that girl at 8:11 AM on March 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


As a side bar, I can't wait until Carli Lloyd is unanimously voted FIFA President in 2026.
posted by Tevin at 8:12 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's so sad to me that true champions, international stars, need to stand up to say they are worth at least as much as the barely mediocre washups on the men's team
posted by littlewater at 8:14 AM on March 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


I'd really like everything to be based on a percentage of revenue in some form, really. Then we could let market forces determine things.

littlewater's second link has a revenue breakdown about halfway down. The women's team had a net profit of $5 million this year. The men's had $500,000 in losses.
posted by damayanti at 8:15 AM on March 31, 2016 [23 favorites]


So should each male player pay for the privilege of playing?
posted by littlewater at 8:16 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm not going to argue that every line in the table in the exhibit is equitable. And frankly, screw turf playing surfaces. But honestly, to get a better idea as to how I should feel, I'd rather compare the women's agreement with the previous men's agreement.

I'd argue that everyone performing the job of US National Team Soccer Player should be paid the same rate, regardless of how US Soccer is able to profit from that work. That said, take some time to peruse littlewater's philly.com link. It's a detailed breakdown of the numbers, and it does not make US Soccer look better.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:19 AM on March 31, 2016


USWNT also played 10 more matches than USMNT during FY2016 (including a World Cup). They obviously deserve to be paid more than what they receive, but comparing gross revenue without regard to number of matches is a little misleading. Even based on per match revenues, it's clear that the women deserve a significant bump in pay. Referring to gross revenue only provides fodder for pay-equity opponents to undermine their arguments.

that said i do very much want to see a head to head.

i think the women would win.


The USMNT would demolish the USWNT in a scrimmage. In 2012, the USWNT played the USMNT U-17 team, lost 8-2, and then went to the Olympics and won gold. Thankfully, the results of a "Battle of the Sexes" are irrelevant to whether the USWNT should be paid fairly and equitably, just like pay equity in tennis makes sense even if Serena Williams would lose to Andy Murray in a three-set match.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 8:22 AM on March 31, 2016 [16 favorites]


I learned this far too late as I was years married by then, but if you are a dude and want cool ladies to talk to you, consider buying a US National Team jersey with a USWNT player's name and number. You should probably watch a few games and read up on the players too, because you'll want to hold up your end of the conversation. Win win.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:29 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Time after time, the women have knocked down the pillars used to support a number of long-standing prejudices. Women are told their games don’t draw television viewers compared to the men, yet 26.7 million Americans tuned in to last summer’s World Cup final, a record number to watch a soccer game — any soccer game — in this country. (To put that figure in perspective, it exceeds the number that watched the 2015 NBA Finals championship game featuring Stephen Curry and LeBron James, the two most popular players in the league.) More than 760 million people watched the Women’s World Cup worldwide, joined by another 86 million who viewed online.

Critics say women don’t put fans in the seats, yet attendance for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada more than tripled that of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games... Women have been told that men won’t watch them play, and yet the head of business operations for Fox Sports says that the demographics for the post–World Cup broadcasts of NWSL games were a “healthy mix between male and female viewers.”

“There’s no question that if any squad deserves to be called America’s Team it’s the U.S. Women’s National Team."
posted by ChuraChura at 8:42 AM on March 31, 2016 [20 favorites]


We saw the USWNT play a friendly against Haiti in Detroit last year, which drew a record crowd for a soccer match at Ford Field. Ford Field had previously hosted two group stage matches of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, including the USMNT versus Detroit's beloved southern neighbor, Canada.

The women drew almost 7,000 more people for their friendly than the men did for their group match.
posted by palindromic at 8:59 AM on March 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


I really hope they win.
posted by shelleycat at 9:03 AM on March 31, 2016


Winning is one thing these women are very good at.
posted by littlewater at 9:05 AM on March 31, 2016 [14 favorites]


littlewater's second link has a revenue breakdown about halfway down. The women's team had a net profit of $5 million this year. The men's had $500,000 in losses.

That is the revenue breakdown only for events though. Earlier in the article it says that Broadcast and Sponsorship Revenue is the much larger income stream with $46.8 million, whereas Event Revenue is only $27.9 million. I don't see a men's vs women's breakdown of the Broadcast and Sponsorship revenue, but it's not unreasonable to assume that more of this money is generated on the men's side of things (although this would not be unconnected to sexism throughout the system).
posted by parallellines at 9:09 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, the women lost their bid to play on better surfaces last year, which means they were playing better, and in worse settings, than the men!

I listen to the Men in Blazers podcast, and those two (British) guys get very enthusiastic about the USWNT in general, and are very clear about the disparity in treatment. Here, try this short piece where they interviewed Megan Rapinoe a couple of weeks ago: http://meninblazers.com/2016/03/11/mibpodspec-rapinoe/
posted by wenestvedt at 9:19 AM on March 31, 2016


I don't see a men's vs women's breakdown of the Broadcast and Sponsorship revenue, but it's not unreasonable to assume that more of this money is generated on the men's side of things (although this would not be unconnected to sexism throughout the system).

Globally, yes, but maybe not in the US. For example, as was widely reported, TV ratings for the finals of the women's world cup broke all sort of records for US soccer, men's or women's; see here.

posted by damayanti at 9:27 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good for them. I hope they win.

Women's soccer is one of the few sports I ever watch, and this team is why.
posted by kyrademon at 9:35 AM on March 31, 2016


I can't get excited about anything regarding US Women's soccer as long as Hope Solo is involved.
posted by madmethods at 9:37 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yea, I know this one woman who is a bad person too, which is why I think all forms of gender inequality should be allowed to stick around.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:50 AM on March 31, 2016 [62 favorites]


So... my takeaway here is that the reason the US Men's Soccer team hasn't won a world cup is that we're paying them too much.
posted by which_chick at 10:04 AM on March 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


This seems like as good a place as any to raise my ire at the state of women's college sports, too. The UCONN Women's Basketball is the closest thing college sports has seen to a dynasty since John Wooden's UCLA days. They are a five-woman wrecking crew. They've absolutely dismantled every team they've faced this year, including the most lopsided Sweet 16 win in tournament history. The results have largely been crickets, aside from the occasional Globe columnist demanding that the NCAA do something to rebalance women's athletics because it's not fun to watch one team be so good.

Professional and collegiate sports are two of the last places where people don't even feel the need to pretend like they aren't frothing misogynists. I hope the USWNT sees U.S. Soccer driven before them, and hears the lamentations of its men.
posted by Mayor West at 10:06 AM on March 31, 2016 [10 favorites]


This is fabulous, and Megan Rapinoe is the absolute shit. That's all I got.
posted by the painkiller at 10:12 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Speaking of dominance in the NCAA, (or, Hell, any sport):
Remember when the Minnesota Gophers women's hockey team won SIXTY TWO games in a row?

Yeah. 62. In a row. Undefeated indeed.
Not sure why they didn't make the cover of SI at least 10 times.
posted by littlewater at 10:13 AM on March 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


I have always seen the men's team players tweet/express solidarity and respect to their women counterparts on other issues (like playing on turf instead of grass). Don't throw the players under the bus alongside the terrible USSF leadership.

Tim Howard: We support USWNT’s concerns in equal pay fight
posted by zakur at 10:21 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


This should be all about capitalism not gender. Why not treat it like a professional sport like football where there is a set percentage of revenues that must accrue to the players? Say 30% of revenue accrues to the players on a fiscal year basis. Pay all of the players, men or women, a draw against revenues. Then, if, at the end of the year, the percentage of revenue exceeds the draw, pay it as a bonus. THis way, which ever team is making the money, the players are rewarded. THe player's interests are aligned with the federation's.

I would like to see the salaries of the coach of the men's team versus the coach of the women's.
posted by AugustWest at 10:43 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would like to see the salaries of the coach of the men's team versus the coach of the women's.

Jurgen Klinsmann serves dual role as both USMNT head coach and Technical Director. USWNT has the two positions separated.

That said, Jill Ellis got a contract extension after the WWC win last year. Terms of the contract were not revealed, though Ellis' last contract gave her a base salary of $215,000, which was more than 10 times less than the $2.5 million per year given to U.S. men's team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
posted by zakur at 11:12 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Coaching contracts are more complicated because they're more directly competing with professional clubs. Roy Hodgson wouldn't leave the Premier League to coach England if they offered him half the salary he'd be getting at, say, Sunderland.

Whereas players play on the national team in addition to their professional team.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:29 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jurgen Klinsmann is outrageously, fantastically, impossibly-to-overstate-ly high paid. Ellis and Klinsmann's contracts could be swapped and he would STILL be paid too much.
posted by Tevin at 11:38 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


Say whatever you might want to say about revenue and ratings -- and I think the facts support the women on both counts anyway -- but here is the irrefutable proof of discrimination (via NPR):

the women players get $15 less per day in per diem reimbursements. WTF?
posted by msalt at 11:46 AM on March 31, 2016 [13 favorites]


that said i do very much want to see a head to head.

i think the women would win.


I doubt it, alas. Women's top line squads have played U-17 (17 years old and under) and not won 50%. Physicality is a factor.

Terms of the contract were not revealed, though Ellis' last contract gave her a base salary of $215,000, which was more than 10 times less than the $2.5 million per year given to U.S. men's team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

In *slight* fairness, Klinsmann is both the technical director for men's soccer and the USMNT head coach, while Jill Ellis is only the USWNT head coach. But that's a slight difference, and Klinsmann...well, he might be worth it if the USMNT was better, but they aren't.

What Fox, or anybody else, makes broadcasting only affects the players salaries slightly. It's the money that goes to USSF that represents the pool of money to pay players. Most of the money goes to the Confederations or FIFA (because corruption, naturally.)

However, the fact that the USMNT is making less money for the federation than the USWNT is interesting. However, we're coming off the WWC cycle and onto the MWC cycle, so you're going to see more USMNT games. Well, provided they don't keep screwing up. God, wouldn't it be "comical" if we end up needing Mexico to win to make the World Cup?

The USWNT take is also very much inflated by the World Cup win and more importantly, the subsequent victory tour.

Having said all that -- yeah, they should be paid more, of course. 8 years ago? Not so much, but the women's game has grown, the USWNT has bagged a 2nd place in the World Cup, Olympic Gold, then won the third star this year. They're still drawing, which means come *next* contract, USSF/CONCACAF/FIFA are going to get even more money for the TV contracts, and USSF will get even more money from the infinite tours they'll undoubtedly do.

And the USMNT team is, at best, a top 32 team (and if they fuck up again, not even that.) The USWNT is #1 in the world and has *never* missed making it to a world cup semifinal. Ever. This is a team that third place is a massive disappointment for. They own the WWC in a way that the Patriots or the Yankees can only dream of.

Pay the women. Dammit.

BTW: You can help by supporting your local pro women's team. If they start making more money, they can play in bigger stadiums, get more revenue, and pay the players more. Go to the games. Let it be known you'll watch them on TV if they get on TV. Watch them if they do.
posted by eriko at 11:53 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


In *slight* fairness, Klinsmann is both the technical director for men's soccer and the USMNT head coach, while Jill Ellis is only the USWNT head coach. But that's a slight difference...

Does the technical director for women's soccer make $2.3M a year?
posted by Etrigan at 11:59 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


But when the USWNT plays friendlies and qualifiers at stadiums in the U.S., they sell more tickets. That's why they are currently more profitable than the USMNT.

This is wrong. See here for USMNT attendance and here for USWNT attendance. Men's home games have averaged about 36,000 from 2010 to 2015. Women's home games averaged about 14,000 over that period. The men's numbers get juiced from huge crowds against Mexico, whereas the women do not have that natural rival.
posted by stargell at 11:59 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


In *slight* fairness, Klinsmann is both the technical director for men's soccer and the USMNT head coach, while Jill Ellis is only the USWNT head coach.

Yes, I thought I stated that clearly in my comment.
posted by zakur at 12:15 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow, ouch. I assumed the men's team was paid more because they brought in more money for US Soccer. If it proves to be accurate that the women's team brings in a lot more than the men's team for USSF currently and they still get paid way less that's a huge black eye and a big problem which should be rectified.

I assume the argument will be that the men's team brings in much higher TV revenue and such but I'd need some convincing that that should matter when it isn't TV revenue which pays salaries.

eriko and enjoymoreradio are right that "who would win in a head to head matchup" is both obvious and irrelevant. It's revenue that matters.
posted by Justinian at 12:19 PM on March 31, 2016


This should be all about capitalism not gender.

haha because people who hire totally make decisions without being biased by gender.

These women should get raises to bring them up to parity with men playing the same positions, because it's the right thing to do.

I give no shits about all the different ways you can crunch the numbers/financing/organizational setups to prove that this is really "ok" or "can't be helped" because when companies/groups decide what to pay someone, those types of statements are just excuses. The reason to pay someone more is to reward them and keep them doing the thing you hired them to do.

Pay them. They've earned it. And it's the right thing to do.
posted by emjaybee at 12:23 PM on March 31, 2016 [9 favorites]


This should be all about capitalism not gender.

Those ... really can't be separated so easily -- especially not in a market that is profoundly sexist, like sports.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:44 PM on March 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


However, we're coming off the WWC cycle and onto the MWC cycle, so you're going to see more USMNT games. Well, provided they don't keep screwing up. God, wouldn't it be "comical" if we end up needing Mexico to win to make the World Cup?

But we also have the Olympics this summer and that is a senior-level tournament for the Women. The USSF could make a lot of money off of the women bringing home another medal and then going on a tour, selling merchandise, etc.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 12:56 PM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes, the women have a built-in cycle where they're on a prominent stage in back-to-back years (World Cup then Olympics), getting national television coverage and attention. Because men's Olympic soccer is a U23 tournament (and the US has now failed to make the Olys for two cycles in a row), the senior men's team only really has the World Cup every four years to get widespread crossover attention. The CONCACAF Gold Cup doesn't cut it, and the US Men will likely get crushed in the Copa America Centenario this summer against the likes of Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Brazil, which isn't going to do much for your jersey sales.
posted by stargell at 2:25 PM on March 31, 2016


I learned this far too late as I was years married by then, but if you are a dude and want cool ladies to talk to you, consider buying a US National Team jersey with a USWNT player's name and number.

Sadly, WNT jerseys are only available in women's cuts, and MNT in men's cuts. Which, if you want the 3 stars the women have earned, means you have to be comfortable wearing that style of clothing.
posted by miguelcervantes at 2:31 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Justinian: "eriko and enjoymoreradio are right that "who would win in a head to head matchup" is both obvious and irrelevant. It's revenue that matters."

This is a dangerous thing to advocate for. Sure right now that would mean the women would be making more. But if 10 years from now the Men's team starts finishing respectively their revenues are likely to far outstrip the women's team even if each team's record is similar.
posted by Mitheral at 2:53 PM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sadly, WNT jerseys are only available in women's cuts, and MNT in men's cuts. Which, if you want the 3 stars the women have earned, means you have to be comfortable wearing that style of clothing.

I thought they were going to fix that. Darn.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 3:51 PM on March 31, 2016


I figured this would have been linked already: women's lower pay is a result of the patriarchy, not an inferior game (Jul 16, 2015).

The whole thing is great, but here's a takeaway if you don't want to read it all:
The key thing to understand is that FIFA agrees on a price with the sponsors and TV broadcasters that’s based on their (i.e. their mostly male top executives’) perceptions of the value of the WWC. Those perceptions are tainted by sexist assumptions, primary among them being that 1) there is less of a market for women’s soccer and 2) that the women’s game is of a lower quality.

Therefore, all parties agree to prices for sponsorships and TV rights that are far below those for the men’s tournament. The TV broadcasters then go on to sell ad spots for the games that again, are valued much less than the equivalent ad spots would be for a men’s game.

This sexism, built directly into the economics of women’s soccer, leads to several results: the sponsors and broadcasters, having paid less for their rights, don’t market the WWC as aggressively as they do the men’s tourney. Additionally, different companies sponsor the women’s tournament, often makers of specialty products sold exclusively to women, such as Tampax.

Because of this, there is far less hype for the women’s tournament in the weeks and months leading up to it, and much of that hype is directed at a women-only audience rather than at the general public. As Drew Harwell of the Washington Post writes: “Companies that invested exhaustively in ad blitzes and social media around last year’s tournament, like Adidas, proved staggeringly quiet during the Women’s World Cup.”
posted by miguelcervantes at 4:39 PM on March 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


The prices aren't set by FIFA and broadcasting execs. They are auctioned. There is real price discovery. If televising woman's games is being underpriced the next round of bidding will see huge jumps.

Sports marketing is one of the most competitive fields out there. And demand for live sports from the networks is at an unsustainable high as they fend off cord cutting.
posted by JPD at 5:05 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure who is still under the impression that women's sports don't draw crowds, but those people were sure as shit not in Vancouver last July. I wasn't even anywhere near the stadium the day the final was played, and the streets were still filled with Americans in jerseys and face paint.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:57 PM on March 31, 2016


If televising woman's games is being underpriced the next round of bidding will see huge jumps.

Sports marketing is one of the most competitive fields out there.


The market doesn't actually have an invisible hand, it's all done by people who have biases, which is why capitalism alone has not solved racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.
posted by jeather at 8:03 PM on March 31, 2016 [14 favorites]


> Sadly, WNT jerseys are only available in women's cuts, and MNT in men's cuts.

This is the stupidest thing I have read in a while. The MLB has gear in men and women's styles (and boys' and girls' and babies fer the love of), and although I still find it somewhat disturbing that you can buy shirts and hats and stuff in colors that are not your team's colors, at least the MLB marketing people are not so dumb as to be like "Nah, we don't want to make more money."
posted by rtha at 8:41 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


No. Auctions are one of the very few things the invisible hand does well.

If you disagree with me then you should start buying g up rights to second tier woman's sports. They're basically free
posted by JPD at 4:36 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I mean so you honestly think Fox or ESPN are just willingly leaving money on the ground?
posted by JPD at 4:38 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean so you honestly think Fox or ESPN are just willingly leaving money on the ground?

I literally do. The toy industry continues to insist that female toys don't sell, despite the fact that the few they do produce sell out more quickly than the male toys. Biases are strong, the patriarchy is mighty, and people are dumb. Find the right way to market, promote and distribute women's sports broadcasts and there is no reason they wouldn't do as well as men's, especially in a sport like soccer, where MLS doesn't have the history/tradition/inertia of the other major men's leagues (see: tennis).
posted by Rock Steady at 5:46 AM on April 1, 2016 [13 favorites]


I don't think they're cackling thinking "Oh yay we can cheat women!", but I think they are human and even the purest of profit motives cannot fix that. There is absolutely no evidence that alone among all the professions, sports marketing is a bastion of equality.
posted by jeather at 6:10 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


But when the USWNT plays friendlies and qualifiers at stadiums in the U.S., they sell more tickets. That's why they are currently more profitable than the USMNT.

This is not an accurate statement based on U.S. Soccer's own numbers. (Note: these are 2015 numbers for home games. No 2016 numbers were available for the USMNT)

The USMNT averaged 36,030 a game while the USWNT averaged 27,799 a game for 2015.

That being said, I am all for the women fighting for a better deal.
posted by remo at 7:40 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rock Steady: "Find the right way to market, promote and distribute women's sports broadcasts and there is no reason they wouldn't do as well as men's, especially in a sport like soccer, where MLS doesn't have the history/tradition/inertia of the other major men's leagues"

It seems (IE: I can't find a counter example though I couldn't find a men/women revenue split for beach volley ballthough the top male player made more last year in prize money than the top female player) that the top/open division (IE: when divisions play against each other the top division is the the one that is expected to win most/all of the time) is always the most lucrative in sports.

This is the case even when gender/race/-ism isn't really a factor. Take for example WRC. There isn't a WWRC. Drivers and Co-Drivers are all male and mostly white so compensation at different levels isn't effected by the big -isms; a WRC-3 driver generally isn't going too look much different than the WRC or WRC-2 driver. The 4WD cars are going to get the bulk of the attention; are going to attract the best drivers, and are going to generate the most revenue. This is the case even though the 2WD cars compete in the same events at the same time and have only a marginally lower chance of ending up as wadded balls of metal. I think the same applies in many forms of closed wheel and stock car racing where lower tier series will compete on the same track at the same time yet the lower tier (slower cars/slower drivers) garner less attention and make less money.

How do you separate that out from the obvious patriarchy factor?
posted by Mitheral at 2:46 AM on April 2, 2016


You know, I was ready to come in here and talk about how pro atheletes are all overpayed, so who cares if some are more overpayed than others.

Then I RTFA and damn! Some of their salaries are less than I made last year, and I'm kind of an idiot! I'm not a sports fan and I still know the women's soccer team rocks. What they're paid is a travesty.
posted by pattern juggler at 5:39 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


U.S. Soccer strongly refutes charges in USWNT wage inequality complaint

Hours after the players' filing, which claimed the women are compensated unfairly relative to the men's national team and included comparative figures that seemed to support their case, the federation asserted essentially that the wage inequality complaint has no merit. The women, it argued, signed a collective bargaining agreement stipulating terms and receive non-monetary benefits the men's national team doesn't get. It added that, counter to the women's claim, the men drive revenue that's "almost twice" as high as that of the women's team.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:22 AM on April 2, 2016


Some of the non-monetary benefits are enumerated later on:
the women get benefits the men don't receive, like severance pay when they are cut from the team, health insurance, vision, dental, pregnancy leave – with 50 percent pay – and a guaranteed salary when they are injured.
It would be interesting to see both what the total cost of compensation is and how much more the men would be making if they won more considering their compensation is more bonus based.

I hate when management holds up a CBA in the media as some sort of proof that compensation is fair when it is no such thing. Especially so when there hasn't been a long history of contracts and negotiation that could be used by the employees to mitigate abuses.

And in this case there isn't even a CBA but merely a memorandum of understanding based on a has been expired for four years contract (which probably explains the per diem difference).
posted by Mitheral at 12:07 PM on April 2, 2016


And again, many of the men play in professional leagues that provide them all those benefits, plus additional salary. The women negotiated for those because there is nowhere else for them to get them.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:28 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


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