This will come as a shock to all the strangers who googled their way to my hate blogs the past couple weeks. I hoped to never have to do this, but I am officially manning up and admitting defeat – the women rocked. They deserve a pay raise – equal pay as men from the USSF, and 2x the share of FIFA revenue as men. Whatever ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
To guesstimate the exact number, let’s say it’s 20%. This year’s WC brought about $131M, and just for kicks let’s say revenue doubles for 2023 (2015 WC was $73M). That would be about $54M to the women, up from $30M this year.
In comparison to the men, let’s pretend Qatar is a disaster and 2022 stagnates at 0% growth from the $6B revenue total from Russia. The men’s prize pool is set at a flat rate of $440 million, which would be 7.3% of revenue. As you can see, even with aggressively optimistic/negative assumptions on both sides, the men are making eight times more than women from FIFA and no rational brain can say that is unfair.
They do deserve twice the share of their pie because they have more growth potential. There is an untapped market for women’s soccer all over the world while men’s soccer is set everywhere but here. The past three years, the women’s team has produced more for that domestic growth than the men’s. Therefore, the upcoming mediation should be a quick resolution ending in equal pay here at home. Fuck it why not.
The FIFA gap will rightfully remain large in absolute terms and no lawsuit is ever going to change that. Instead, the women need to keep growing their game. They have unprecedented new opportunities in both entrepreneurship and philanthropy and it is up to them to capitalize on it.
Ride the momentum from this summer and start developing the domestic league. Downsize NWSL and shift to a more barnstorming style rather than a traditional league format, at least in the short term. Play some indoor games too. Sponsor youth tournaments and run camps, then take them abroad.
Growing the game abroad means scrapping the Ugly American personas. Use positive marketing, like more cool teacup celebrations against good teams and less dancing around like assholes when running up the score against underprivileged nations. Realize that loving America and hating its leadership do not have to be mutually exclusive. Tone back the whining about everything under the sun. Practice a tiny bit of self-awareness like this:
I personally will never be interested in women’s soccer and will always be a little bit embarrassed that so many Americans could care about it. However, numbers never lie and it looks like I am firmly in the minority for at least the near future. I guess I’ll go ahead and start letting other people enjoy it more some. The 1999 team is still chill. At the very least, continued domestic success on the women’s front could end up ‘trickling down’ to more expectations/resources for the men’s squad so it could end up actually being a good thing for America.
PS obligatory –