The USA has won the 2019 Women’s World Cup (WWC) for the second consecutive time and the fourth time over all. The have been eight WWC and the USA has four golds, a silver, and three bronzes. We have team to be proud of.
There has been much talk about equal pay for the US national teams. Here is a story from Business Insider (BI) published a few years ago with some details. It appears that a chant for equal pay broke out after the USA won the WWC final against the Dutch. What is the rationale for such a recommendation? Is it equal pay for equal work? No, none of the women would make the men’s team. Is it revenue generation? Perhaps. The WWC does get high TV ratings in the US.
As of 2017, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final was the most watched football [soccer] match in American history with nearly 23 million viewers, more than the 2015 NBA Finals and Stanley Cup. It was also the most watched Spanish-language broadcast in tournament history. More than 750 million viewers were reported to have watched the tournament worldwide.
The total revenue, however, generated by the WWC is minuscule compared to the World Cup. The same Wikipedia item tells us:
The 2015 Women’s World Cup generated almost $73 million, the 2018 men’s tournament generated an estimated $6.1 billion in revenue. [Emphasis added]
We could find similar numbers for club soccer. It doesn’t seem that you would get far towards equal pay using revenue generated as a rationale. As a related issue, the national team can outbid clubs for women but not men.
The success of the women’s team is more reasonable argument for equal pay. It appears from the BI story (we expect all the prices have gone up) that the US men’s and women’s teams do earn about the same. The US women win almost all of their matches. The US men do not. The US women win the WWC. The men didn’t even qualify to the last one and have won eight of their 32 matches in the World Cup. So, using the BI chart, and saying that the women win 20 and the WWC and the men go ten and ten and miss the WC then the men get $182 K and the women get $174 K. We could argue about the exact details and they are different than they were in 2016 but the structure looks close to right to us.