The fight for equal pay in the work field remains ongoing and quite simple: men and women should get paid the same for doing the same job.
The world of entertainment is different, and soccer lies in the entertainment category. Entertainers should be paid based on the revenue they bring in, and currently, the U.S. women soccer players make substantially less than the men. But based on revenue, should they?
We at the Scroll believe the men and women U.S. soccer players should be paid equally.
Fresh off winning the World Cup, chants of “equal pay” rang through the air at the U.S. Women’s World Cup championship parade. Along with the lawsuit the U.S. women’s team filed against U.S. soccer asking for equal pay, the noise around the wage gap debate has certainly picked up.
In the lawsuit, they claim the women make a maximum of $99,000 per year while the men make an average $263,320. A wide margin by any means. The suit also states that the U.S. soccer federation puts more money into marketing the men’s team, and the women receive less quality of training and travel conditions.
The Wall Street Journal discovered that between the years of 2016-2018, the women’s games brought in $50.8 million, with the men’s games bringing in $49.9 million worth of revenue.
Revenue is acquired in a number of ways, with ticket sales, merchandise, television deals and sponsorship being the more prominent ones. At this point, the women are bringing in more for U.S. soccer, if even by just a close margin. A close enough margin that mandates equal pay.
In 2011, you could have easily made the argument that men should be paid more. At the time, the women saw revenue of just over $1 million, with the men reaching nearly $20 million, but today is different.
With that being said, the counter-argument is simple: the players should be paid based on their opportunity cost.
The opportunity cost refers to the player getting paid not based on the revenue they bring in, but as compensation for the money they would lose if injured while playing soccer for their country.
Major League Soccer, the U.S. men’s soccer league, sports an average salary of $414,803. The National Women’s Soccer League in the U.S. hardly contests, with an average salary of $46,200. The opportunity cost for men is much higher.
U.S. men’s national team forward, Christian Pulisic, made $1.1 million this past season with B Dortmund in Germany. A move to Chelsea, a club in England, in 2020 will likely see a pay raise for the rising star. An injury resulting from playing for the U.S. could potentially cost Pulisic millions of dollars if it affects future club contract negotiations.
That’s one intricate form of thinking. One that makes sense, but not as much sense as getting what you bring in to your current organization, not what you might lose from your other job.
And the women are doing an incredible job making soccer a prominent sport in America. According to Nike, “the USA Women’s Home Jersey is now the #1 soccer jersey, men’s or women’s, ever sold on nike.com in one season.”
“I think the wage gap is a big issue, obviously,” said Mariah Miller, a senior studying exercise physiology. “I don’t think it should be in comparison to the men’s team personally just because it’s a different game with a different fan base. I think the women’s team deserves more pay because of what THEY do, not because of what the men make. The sacrifices that they put their bodies through and the time and dedication they put into it definitely deserves higher pay, in my opinion.”
Miller plays for the Madison Dragons F.C., the BYU-Idaho club soccer team.
“I think the women winning the World Cup is a huge thing for women’s soccer and women’s sports in general,” Miller said. “Women’s soccer is still a growing sport, especially around the world, and to see what the US had accomplished is really inspiring for girls all over.”
Miller said she sees no favoritism for the men at BYU-I.
“The women’s team at BYU-I is given the same opportunity as the men’s team.”
Equal pay between the men’s and women’s U.S. soccer teams needs to be the next big win for equality, and it needs to happen soon.