At MWG we don’t pride ourselves on timeliness. This one isn’t all our fault as we had some technical difficulties. The US women’s National Soccer team (USWNT) sued the US Soccer Federations over the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) they had both signed. The USWNT’s CBA and the men’s CBA are vastly different. The pay part of the lawsuit has been rejected so after we review the facts we would like to explain why the CBAs are so different and speculate why The Frontrunner has got involved.
The National Review editors did a nice job of reviewing the results. Their title is Soccer Decision Scores A Goal For Women’s Choice. Of course you should subscribe and read the whole thing. Here is a great summary:
Los Angeles federal judge R. Gary Klauser did two things that don’t happen often in public arguments about gender and wages: He looked at the evidence, and he took women’s choices seriously. The result was a defeat for a class-action lawsuit filed by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team against the U.S. Soccer Federation, but a victory for women’s priorities in the workplace. USSF is the governing body for both men’s and women’s soccer, and it collectively bargains contracts separately with the unions for the men’s and women’s teams.
The editors make three points from the case:
- The USWNT made a lot more money than the men.
- The USWNT would have made more money under the men’s CBA but the men would have made more money under the USWNT CBA.
- The USWNT rejected the men’s CBA
Why would the USWNT choose a very different CBA then the men? Men’s soccer is really big deal world-wide. You know how much some US athletes make but the top three highest paid athletes in the world are soccer players. They all make over $100 million per year. There is club soccer and international soccer (playing for the national team). The Women’s [soccer] World Cup is a big deal. It is not nearly as big as the World Cup but the differences in men’s and women’s club soccer are comparatively enormous. When Arsenal plays at home at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League they almost always sell out meaning over 60,000 fans and the game is televised all over the world. Leeds United, the top team in the second tier of British soccer attracted 36,500 fans to a recent game. The Arsenal women, a very good team with many World Cup veterans, often play at Meadow Park that has an attendance record of 4,030 according to Wikipedia. So a rough guess is that the ticket revenue for the men is three million pounds and the women is 40,000 pounds. The revenue of women’s club soccer teams means that women make the most money playing for the national team rather than the club team. This list from 2020 has just four women making over $100,000 playing soccer. We think it includes club, country, and endorsement earnings like the men’s list but it is not specified.
Sidebar: We think it is likely that both the World Cup and soccer giants like Arsenal subsidize the women’s game. It is a economically rational choice as the men’s game is close to saturated while the women’s game has growth opportunities. End Sidebar.
The USWNT might choose otherwise but it is a rational decision for the women to choose a low risk CBA and the men the opposite because most of the men have a substantial club contract while the women do not.
So why did The Frontrunner wade into a situation where the facts are so against him? Here is part of a report from a British newspaper:
“Don’t give up this fight,” Biden wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “This is not over yet.”
The presumptive Democratic candidate for president then turned his attention to the governing body.
“To US Soccer: equal pay, now,” he wrote. “Or else when I’m president, you can go elsewhere for World Cup funding.” [Emphasis added]
We were, or perhaps he was, confused about the last item in bold. The World Cup is rolling in revenue. Who needs money from the federal government? It turns out The Frontrunner is trying to threaten the 2026 World Cup to be held in North America:
Moreover, he warned U.S. Soccer that should the equal-pay dispute not be resolved, he would withhold funding for the men’s World Cup in 2026, which is due to be staged in the USA, Mexico and Canada.
There are some Congress critters that agree with The Frontrunner. They have come up with the misnamed Give Our Athletes Level Salaries (GOALS) Act. We are not sure what he can do or the wisdom of it. In the United States stadiums, the big funding issue for the World Cup, are built by cities, states, and private enterprise. Has the federal government promised to build stadiums for 2026? We would like to know. We might agree on the withholding but not GOALS.
The Frontrunner has promised to alienate the large group of men’s fans to possibly attract women’s fans. We hope everyone sees that the lawsuit deserves to lose on the pay part but that might be asking too much in a Twitter world. The odds don’t look good for him because the World Cup is really popular.
The good news is the pay part of the suit has been dismissed for the right reasons. The bad part is The Frontrunner wants to follow in the steps of the 44th president and The Donald by getting involved in events that he should ignore. The Frontrunner just can’t seem to provide a reason to vote for him in the 2020 general.