Unequal Pay for the USWNT: the Bottom Line

The US Women’s National Team’s performance in the Women’s World Cup was a thing of beauty.

From the 13-0 ass-kicking over Thailand, to sending the host squad France home from the quarterfinals crying, culminating with a 2-0 win in the final over the Netherlands, the USWNT gave a performance that (should have) made us all proud as Americans.

All of this in the backdrop of the imbeciles back home bitching over the ladies “lack of sportsmanship” during their big win over Thailand (I still maintain that no one would have said shit if our men administered said ass-kicking), brashness, and notably Megan Rapinoe’s political stances. But one thing that still stands out in the aftermath is the lack of equal pay between the women and the US Men’s National Team.

When I was planning this rant, my focus was going to be on sponsorships and television coverage of the women’s team — and, in turn, the National Women’s Soccer League. I remember thinking to myself, “with the annual dominance of the women’s national team, why in the hell do they not get as much love as the men?” It has to be lack of sponsorships and television deals, right?

While using my dear friend Google, I noticed the following: even though there is work to be done on a TV deal for the NWSL, the USWNT does have sponsorships in place with entities such as Nike and Budweiser. Not bad at all, but could be better.

I also took note of a few nuggets from some late night research.

The Women’s World Cup had a $30 million pot, compared with the $400 million (!!) for the men in 2018. According to The Guardian, the USWNT’s contract guarantees a player will receive $3,000 for each qualification game they win; a $37,500 bonus for qualifying for the World Cup; $37,500 for making the final US World Cup roster; and $110,000 if they win the whole World Cup. That’s a potential total of $200,000 for those who are good at math. Again, not bad, but could be better.

The USMNT, on the other hand, would have been paid a total of over $1.1 million each if they ever won the World Cup.

To quote the urban poet Kendrick Lamar: “damn”.

Here’s the worst part about this: people assume the USWNT is not profitable, which is totally false. According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. women’s soccer games have generated more revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) than U.S. men’s games over the past three years, and according to Nike, the 2019 women’s stadium home jersey is the top-selling soccer jersey, men’s or women’s, ever sold on Nike.com in one season.

So basically what you have is a profitable women’s squad getting the shaft by its own governing body. That, my friends, is bullshit.

The USSF could help fix the pay gap in various ways.

It could do a better job in promoting the women’s game, not just the USWNT, but the NWSL as well. Keep in mind that most, if not all, of the stars from this World Cup play in the NWSL. Hell, the North Carolina Courage is considered one of the best teams in the world.

I think if the USSF gets behind the NWSL as it does Major League Soccer, the former would be a lot more profitable — which in turn would lead to more money to go around.

I also believe the USSF should finally pay these women for what they are worth. They are the best in the world (though the gap is closing fast), and more importantly they are profitable.

That would be such a win-win not only for the USWNT, but for current pros and young women who aspire to play professional soccer in a league of their own.

Nike said it best: “This team wins, EVERYONE wins”…

Categories: soccer, women's sports

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