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Culture Beat / August 1, 2019

U.S. Women Soccer Players Paid More Than Men?

U.S. Soccer releases fact sheet showing female players actually earned more than men.

Following the recent Women’s World Cup in which the U.S. Women’s National Team won its fourth world championship, prominent members of the team loudly complained of not receiving pay equal to the men’s team. The players blamed the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) for engaging in “institutionalized gender discrimination” and initiated a lawsuit. On Monday, USSF president Carlos Cordeiro released a letter and a fact sheet showing that, among other things, female players have actually been paid more than their male counterparts.

Cordeiro notes that from 2010 to 2018 USSF paid out $34.1 million in salary to female players and over that same period of time paid out $26.4 million to male players. He further pointed out that the women’s total payout does not include health care and retirement costs, which the USSF also covers. The male players do not receive health care coverage nor retirement compensation.

On top of this revelation, Cordeiro highlighted the fact that over the last 10 years, the USWNT has lost the USSF money:

From 2009 through 2019 — a timeframe that includes two Women’s World Cup championships — the Women’s National Team has earned gross revenue of $101.3 million over 238 games, for an average of $425,446 per game, and the Men’s National Team has earned gross revenue of $185.7 million over 191 games, for an average of $972,147 per game. More specifically, WNT games have generated a net profit (ticket revenues minus event expenses) in only two years (2016 and 2017). Across the entire 11-year period, WNT games generated a net loss of $27.5 million. Nevertheless, U.S. Soccer does not view these as losses, but rather as an important investment in our Women’s National Team and in the long-term growth of women’s soccer.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) weighed in, releasing a statement that was critical of the fact sheet and siding with the USWNT in its equal-pay dispute. A USMNT representative noted that the USSF fact sheet did not include any information on money the USSF generated via sponsorships, marketing, and television, and alleged that revenue was not shared with the women’s team. It should also be noted that the men’s team’s collective-bargaining agreement expired at the end of 2018, and a new CBA has yet to be reached.

However this dispute ends up in court, we think it’s pretty clear that the women have shot way wide of the goal.

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