Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Why Women Get Paid Less for Kicking Soccer Balls (And Why This Confuses the Left)

By Daniel J. Flynn

The Think Progress headline reads: “FIFA Will Pay U.S. Women’s Championship Four Times Less Than Men’s Team That Lost in the First Round.” The article that appears below it nowhere explains that the inequality in ratings, ad revenue, and attendance between the men’s and women’s World Cup accounts for the inequality in prize money.

The Atlantic, the Associated Press, and other outlets similarly noted the pay disparity but remained curiously incurious about why. The writers did not appear to consider legitimate reasons to pay women’s soccer players less than their male counterparts. The articles advanced sexism as the reflexive explanation.
Stadiums in Canada hosted 1.35 million people who watched 52 women’s World Cup matches over the last month. In Brazil last year, 3.43 million watched the men play in 64 matches. Put another way, an average of 53,592 filled Brazilian stadiums for the men and the women attracted an average gate of 26,029 in Canada.
Despite face prices sinking to $20.15 on group-match play, and FIFA reducing some tickets to $5, women’s World Cup opening-round matches drew just a few thousand people in several venues. The Los Angeles Times reported on June 9th, “Canada remains underwhelmed by the women’s World Cup, with a combined total of 21,861 fans showing up for four opening-round games in two cities Tuesday.” Just 10,175 fans watched a June 9 doubleheader in Montreal’s massive Olympic Stadium despite a two-games-for-the-price-of-one deal. The sea of seats made the late-’90s Expos look like a hot ticket in comparison.
The New York Times outlined the disparity in advertising revenues for the men’s and women’s World Cup: “The 2011 Cup brought in just $5.8 million, while the men’s cup in 2014 netted $1.4 billion.” The article notes that Fox Sports reports that it tripled advertising revenue since four years ago, indicating a growing game. But the advertisers still pay 80 times the money for the men’s game. And that’s just in the United States, where the women’s team ranks as the world’s best and the men’s team boasts… a quarterfinals appearance in 2002.
(ht Joel Dever)


  1. Anyone who values their sanity, please do not go and read the comments under the Think Progress article. The level of stupidity and economic illiteracy is so unbelievable it defies all explanation.

  2. Maybe it's because when the women's soccer team plays the men's soccer team, the men's soccer team would win 10 times out of 10.
    In other words, the U.S. women's soccer team is "so good" because the rest of them are worse.
    The U.S. men's soccer team went out in the first round because they are late to the world wide sport and the rest are simply better.
    The revenues from advertisement and the amount of spectators reflect a profound difference in the current state of quality between the men and women, that is masked because the sport isn't played in mixed gender.