The Problem with the USWNT Equal Pay Argument

Jordan Kirkland                      July 10th, 2019

Following the U.S. women's historic fourth World Cup victory on Sunday, #EqualPay began trending on Twitter, reigniting an ongoing debate surrounding the "pay gap" between the men's and women's soccer players.

Players on the team, fans, feminists, and even elected officials all chimed in on the controversial topic, with all insisting that female soccer players are victims of a sexist wage gap -- citing the fact that female players are paid much less than male players.

But are there any truths to these claims? Are women in soccer a product of a male-dominated society that doesn't value their play on the field? Unfortunately, the facts surrounding the disparity in pay have had little to no light shed on it.

 
As Dwight Jaynes pointed out four years ago after the U.S. women beat Japan to capture the World Cup in Vancouver, there is a big difference in the revenue available to pay the teams. The Women's World Cup brought in almost $73 million, of which the players got 13%. The 2010 men's World Cup in South Africa made almost $4 billion, of which 9% went to the players.
 
The men still pull the World Cup money wagon. The men's World Cup in Russia generated over $6 billion in revenue, with the participating teams sharing $400 million, less than 7% of revenue. Meanwhile, the Women's World Cup is expected to earn $131 million for the full four-year cycle 2019-22 and dole out $30 million to the participating teams.

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