FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 - France

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Keith Putnam

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Revenue Disparity Explains Pay Disparity Between Soccer World Cup's Men And Women

Has anyone come across any analyses or studies to refute this? The numbers are a bit old, because FIFA is not completely transparent about its revenue and such, but the upshot is that the gap between the money generated by the Men's World Cup and the Women's World Cup is much, much bigger than the gap between the prize money in those contests. If you imposed proportionality between revenue and prizes, then either the men would make much more or the women much less, byt a lot. I suspect the revenue gap is shrinking as the WWC gets bigger and more popular, but the revenue gap set forth here is so large I think even with the current trend there is a long way to go.

I also understand this is just a slice of total revenue and income: US Soccer has its own revenue sources, FIFA has revenue in addition to the World Cup tournaments, and the players are paid salaries and other bonuses in addition to World Cup prize money. So it has its limitations even if accurate, but I'd like to know if this is accurate for what it does purport to cover.
Honestly I don't really care about a disparity in how much revenue comes in from the men's side and the women's side. It all goes to the federation; the teams are part of the same entity. And, further, the USSF is a non-profit organization charged with growing the sport in the US, not making money for shareholders.

The men's and women's squad members should be paid the same wages on principle. It serves no purpose to parse what "slice" of the wages the women "deserve" vs the men.
 

Gotham Gator

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Some good analysis and pay differences, revenue, contracts between the women’s and men’s team

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/08/are-us-womens-soccer-players-really-earning-less-than-men/
Yes, it's a good summary. The NY Times did one a couple of years ago that was similar.

The bottom line is that the situation is very complex. The Federation's finances are opaque, and the men and women have very different structures under which they are paid. It is really hard to determine which team is generating more money and whether there is a substantial pay disparity.

I think the women have been somewhere between disingenuous and dishonest in how they've portrayed the situation. For example in their public statements a couple of years ago, they complained about the inequity in game bonuses, without mentioning the fact that they receive salaries while the men do not; and they pointed out a difference in per diem rates without disclosing that the difference was because they had delayed the start of their new CBA and the difference was repaid once they signed the CBA. This has rather soured me on their side of the issue.

That said, I suspect that the women's team probably isn't getting treated with full equity, and that there is more that the Federation should be doing to pay their players more. I also suspect that the Federation is operating in good faith and that any difference is not that big. This is just my gut after having read up on the issue.

I think the women see their success and the overall compensation that equally successful men receive and bristle that they are only getting a fraction. Abby Wambach has talked about being on an ESPN awards stage with Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning and how frustrating it was to know they were set for life and she was not.

That said, the women are taking the easiest legal redress available to them and striking out at the source of income that is treating them the most fairly. The Federation pays them reasonably well. Their league does not, because it cannot, but solving that problem is more complicated that filing a lawsuit. FIFA is a whole different problem - underselling and undermonitizing the WWC and then using that as an excuse to pay women much less, but it is a lot harder for the players to sue FIFA than to sue the Federation.

The whole thing is a mess. Hopefully, the trial will be fair and thoughtful and the disgraceful politicking around the issue will subside. The one thing that is really disappointing is when people just assume that the women are correct and the Federation is evil without really caring to dig into the issue.
 

Christopher Jee

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Honestly I don't really care about a disparity in how much revenue comes in from the men's side and the women's side. It all goes to the federation; the teams are part of the same entity. And, further, the USSF is a non-profit organization charged with growing the sport in the US, not making money for shareholders.

The men's and women's squad members should be paid the same wages on principle. It serves no purpose to parse what "slice" of the wages the women "deserve" vs the men.
I don't even think you have to go for principle to make a case for it. You said it yourself - it's about growing the sport and part of that is making it a viable / attractive career option.

You could also call it an investment in a very long play, which I think the equitable pay arguments don't really address (although I definitely see where those who argue for equitable vs equal pay are coming from).
 
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Keith Putnam

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The USMNT players are also on record as saying:
"An equal division of revenue attributable to the MNT and WNT programs is our primary pursuit as we engage with the US Soccer Federation in collective bargaining. Our collective bargaining agreement expired at the end of 2018 and we have already raised an equal division of attributable revenue. We wait on US Soccer to respond to both players associations with a way to move forward with fair and equal compensation for all US soccer players."
(bold emphasis mine)
https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/usmnt-statement-on-wnt-players-lawsuit.html
 
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Gotham Gator

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The USMNT players are also on record as saying:
"An equal division of revenue attributable to the MNT and WNT programs is our primary pursuit as we engage with the US Soccer Federation in collective bargaining. Our collective bargaining agreement expired at the end of 2018 and we have already raised an equal division of attributable revenue. We wait on US Soccer to respond to both players associations with a way to move forward with fair and equal compensation for all US soccer players."
(bold emphasis mine)
https://ussoccerplayers.com/2019/03/usmnt-statement-on-wnt-players-lawsuit.html
That's a tough spot. For more than one reason.

The core of their concern seems to be that the Federation is profitable and is sitting on a lot of cash. The men believe players from both teams helped build that and deserve a bigger share, which would benefit both teams.

However, I wonder if the men are also betting that attributable revenue is higher for them than for the women, which would mean the men would be paid more.

In addition, it's really hard to attribute revenue to one team or the other (or to players generally). The article in the Post mentions a few reasons, including that a large portion is from sponsorships and broadcast rights spread across all the teams. Here is another example. In 2016, the Federation showed almost no revenue coming from the men's team. It also showed a huge gain (well over $10 million, IIRC) from the Copa America Centinario. Now, that was for hosting a tournament in which the men's team participated and from which the men's team showed zero income. Some large portion of that was really earned by the men's team, but how can you accurately attribute an amount?
 

NickA

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I don't think the media is doing them any favors. The majority of articles I've seen have been about who's gay and/or who feels what about Trump or America. There's nothing wrong with any of those things but if that's what they want to make their run about, it takes away from their message of equal pay imo. I don't believe the team itself is pandering to specific groups, but the media is making it into something. Is the USWNT a liberal or progressive only thing now? Seems like that's how the media is portraying it. I think they are slightly using or taking advantage of the girls success. I've seen and heard many people rooting for them to lose. It's dumb.
 

SoupInNYC

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Yes, it's a good summary. The NY Times did one a couple of years ago that was similar.

The bottom line is that the situation is very complex. The Federation's finances are opaque, and the men and women have very different structures under which they are paid. It is really hard to determine which team is generating more money and whether there is a substantial pay disparity.

I think the women have been somewhere between disingenuous and dishonest in how they've portrayed the situation. For example in their public statements a couple of years ago, they complained about the inequity in game bonuses, without mentioning the fact that they receive salaries while the men do not; and they pointed out a difference in per diem rates without disclosing that the difference was because they had delayed the start of their new CBA and the difference was repaid once they signed the CBA. This has rather soured me on their side of the issue.

That said, I suspect that the women's team probably isn't getting treated with full equity, and that there is more that the Federation should be doing to pay their players more. I also suspect that the Federation is operating in good faith and that any difference is not that big. This is just my gut after having read up on the issue.

I think the women see their success and the overall compensation that equally successful men receive and bristle that they are only getting a fraction. Abby Wambach has talked about being on an ESPN awards stage with Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning and how frustrating it was to know they were set for life and she was not.

That said, the women are taking the easiest legal redress available to them and striking out at the source of income that is treating them the most fairly. The Federation pays them reasonably well. Their league does not, because it cannot, but solving that problem is more complicated that filing a lawsuit. FIFA is a whole different problem - underselling and undermonitizing the WWC and then using that as an excuse to pay women much less, but it is a lot harder for the players to sue FIFA than to sue the Federation.

The whole thing is a mess. Hopefully, the trial will be fair and thoughtful and the disgraceful politicking around the issue will subside. The one thing that is really disappointing is when people just assume that the women are correct and the Federation is evil without really caring to dig into the issue.
This is very well stated.

I found this article from The Guardian as a great resource: https://www.theguardian.com/football/ng-interactive/2019/jun/28/revealed-the-731003-gender-pay-gap-in-us-world-cup-bonuses

This really only gets into World Cup associated bonuses (qualifying and actual tournament performance), and I think paints a pretty good picture of where US Soccer isn't providing both sides the same options, even FIFA $ aside.

It also gives additional context around how you mentioned a bit of disingenuity from the women. The article mentions: "Notably, the USWNT’s lawsuit against US Soccer uses these older numbers, which make the gap in bonuses appear larger, rather than using the bonuses from their current CBA, which has not been made public. A spokeswoman for the USWNT players union did not return a request seeking comment."
  • The first bonus they mentioned about qualifying for the World Cup is an odd one. It mentions that the men would receive a bonus of $2.5m to be distributed "up to the players depending on how many games they played". It mentions that "top players" would earn around $108,695 - that figure is $2.5m/23 players. It doesn't provide context around the $37.5k bonus the womens players would get (does every player receive the same amount no matter how many games?). Either way, this does appear to be a bonus that is not directly using prize money from FIFA.
  • The second bonus is the qualification win bonus and again, this one does not use prize money from FIFA. $12.5k vs $3k is quite a gap, and this gap grows much, much larger pretty quickly as the men play 11 more qualification games than the women.
The other bonuses get into actual World Cup performance related items and this is where things get a bit murkier in terms of how FIFA distributes WC prize money. The prize for winning the WC is well documented, but I'm not sure what other distributions there are and based on what.

It is interesting to note though, that the US women do not receive a per point bonus but the men do. And then it also goes into percentages of prize money that is paid out. If the men were to win the WC (big if), the players would receive 24% of the $38m prize whereas the women winning the WC this year will receive 126% of the $2.5m prize.

And then, as you mention, the salaries vs bonuses thing is an interesting item to point, and still isn't something that we have a whole ton of clarity on. For example, I'd be curious to look at compensation tied to performance data (not goals/assists, just looking at minutes and roster availability - i.e., on the roster) and how that shakes out for the men vs women. I'm sure it would shake out that the men are being paid more, but I'd be interested to see what the variance is (non-World Cup) and how that looks across players playing a ton of minutes (i.e., Pulisic vs Morgan), players playing decent minutes (i.e., Roldan vs Press) and players playing little minutes (i.e., Lewis vs Pugh).