Over the last three years following on from their success in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the US women’s football team (USWNT) has generated more total revenue than the US men’s games, according to a number of unaudited financial reports sourced from the US Soccer Federation.
Between 2016 and 2018, the women’s game generated over $50.8m, which was mostly down to ticket sales. The men’s game, which would typically generate much higher revenues on a yearly basis, fell slightly short having generated $49.9m in the same time frame.
Sponsorship packages with companies such as Nike and Budweiser have also played a significant part in generating revenue for the US Soccer Federation over recent years, which has – according to the Wall State Journal that analysed the financial records – made it increasingly difficult to distinguish any revenue differences between the teams.
“The event revenue from the USWNT demonstrates the potential that can be realized when investment is made,” commented Becca Roux, executive director of the U.S. women’s national team’s players association.
“While there is still a long way to go, I applaud US Soccer, their partners, and our partners for the new marketing initiatives over the past couple of years. I hope it serves as a case study and example for other federations around the world to emulate.”
As it stands, however, US Soccer doesn’t benefit from broadcast-rights fees from World Cups, with the English-language broadcast deals only existing between Fox Sports and FIFA.
According to US Soccer, however, as part of its eight year deal between MLS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision Deportes for the right to broadcast other U.S. men’s and women’s soccer games, the TV ratings for the men’s games tend to be higher than those of the women’s game.
For this year’s Women’s World Cup, the USWNT are tipped as favourites to dominate this year’s competition having already defeated Thailand 13-0 in their first match of the tournament.
The resounding win has, however, raised some eyebrows regarding the current pay gap that exists in the sport, with Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand raising the issue on Twitter.
She tweeted: “Here’s an idea: If you win 13-0—the most goals for a single game in World Cup history—you should be paid at least equally to the men’s team.”
Here’s an idea: If you win 13-0—the most goals for a single game in World Cup history—you should be paid at least equally to the men’s team.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 11, 2019
The team has previously submitted a legal case against the US Soccer Federation alleging that gender-based wage discrimination violates the Civil Rights Act. The lawsuit emphasised that while the women earned $15,000 for gaining a place on the World Cup team, the men earned $55,000 for making the cut in 2014.
The lawsuit also alleges that female players make $99,000 annually, which roughly equates to $4950 per game if they are to play 20 times in a year. The men, however, earn exponentially more at roughly $13,166 a game, or $263,320 a year.