The United States Women’s National Team celebrates after beating Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer championship in Canada in July 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
In the 2016 fiscal year, the U.S. women’s national soccer team earned $23.5 million in revenues for games it played in America. That was triple the revenue the U.S. Soccer Federation predicted in its budget for the year, and it was more than the men’s national soccer team earned from games in the same time period.
For the 2017 fiscal year, which begins Friday, the Federation projects the women’s team will bring in about $17.5 million in game revenues, turning a $5 million profit in the process. It projects the men’s team will earn about $9 million in game revenues and net a $1 million loss.
If you didn’t know much about soccer, or gender dynamics, or really anything outside of standard green-eyeshade accounting and entry-level economics, you still might form an obvious conclusion from those numbers: that the players on the U.S. women’s soccer team are highly productive investments. You’d want to give them more money, to encourage them to play more soccer, to generate more revenues and higher returns.
And if you want people to do more of something — again, this is entry-level economics — you typically pay them more.
That is not the conclusion of the U.S. Soccer Federation. According to a federal wage discrimination complaint filed Thursday by five stars of the women’s 2015 World Cup championship team, women earn far less than men for representing America on the international pitch. The complaint says the Federation pays women nearly four times less than it pays male players, according to ESPN.
The New York Times reports that “a men’s player, for example, receives $5,000 for a …read more