Three Things I Think I Think – Soccer Edition

“Woohoo, the Three Things we’ve all been waiting for – the soccer edition.” – Said no one ever. 

1) Women’s Soccer and equal pay. The US Women’s National Team has been involved in a longstanding lawsuit against US Soccer over equal pay. Basically, the men’s team makes a lot more on average than the women do and the women argue that this is discrimination.

Now, this is a tricky discussion because there are a lot of moving parts, but here’s where I stand on this.You have to look at this based on financial performance because that’s the only thing that makes all of this viable. Although the US Soccer Federation is a 501C non-profit their viability is based primarily on the revenue they generate from their operations. For most of the last 100 years the men’s game has been the primary driver of the 501’s revenue. This is starting to change though. Here’s a recent history of the revenue streams from the men’s and women’s games:

The reason the men were justifiably earning more than the women was simple – they pull in a lot more money than the women. But the men’s game has stagnated in the last decade. They didn’t even qualify for the last World Cup and the women are the favorite to win the 2019 Women’s World Cup. And on an apples to apples basis the women’s revenue now matches that of the men. So I would argue that, while their case wasn’t that strong 5-10 years ago it has become much stronger in recent years.

The thing that throws this all off is the men’s World Cup. The men’s event is colossal with an estimated prize money of $440MM in 2022 vs $30MM for the women’s world cup in 2019. If the US men qualify for future World Cups they bring in several years worth of revenue from this one event. So there’s no clean way to quantify this. In short, I’d argue that the men, by virtue of being even tangentially associated with the Men’s World Cup, will have a nearly perpetual revenue advantage. But the women have closed that gap substantially when looking at their events outside of the World Cup.

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Carol W 8 months ago Contributor's comment

you don't think Trump drives the market? Sounds like you got hit with a soccer ball on the noggin.:)