The United States women’s soccer team’s battle to gain equal pay and working conditions with their male counterparts has seemingly been given a significant boost.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that in the three years after the US women’s team (USWNT) won the 2015 Women’s World Cup, their games generated more revenue in ticket sales than the men’s team (USMNT).
According to audited financial reports from the US Soccer Federation, women’s games from 2016-18 generated about $50.8m in revenue compared with $49.9m for the men. More specifically, in 2016, the women generated $1.9m more than the men thanks to a “Victory Tour” following their World Cup triumph.
There is also evidence that the women’s team is helping the national federation gain significant sponsorship revenue. While US Soccer sells broadcast rights and sponsorships as a bundle, not separately for each individual team, recent commercial deals with Visa, Volkswagen and Secret deodorant make women’s soccer a key aspect of the partnership.
According to US Soccer, any alleged pay differential between the men’s and women’s teams is “based on differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex”.
As such, these figures could help the USWNT in their ongoing battle with the governing body, which is being played out in the shadow of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
In March, all 28 members of the current squad filed a lawsuit at the United States District Court in Los Angeles, citing “institutionalised gender discrimination”.