This is a guest post by Maria Colacurcio
The United States Soccer Federation has often claimed that women’s soccer generates much less revenue than men’s. If you’re only looking at ticket sales, this is partially true (although since 2016, women’s sales have exceeded men’s), but when you include marketing, broadcast and sponsorship agreements, it gets more tenuous. This circumstance is another instance that highlights the disparities in all workforce.
Finally, some real numbers we can rely on to back the fight for equal pay by the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team. When iSpot applied data science methodology to the best TV data available, the picture became clear and the resolution is obvious. It is apparent that women’s soccer is having a larger impact on the TV advertising bottom line than the men’s soccer team. It’s time that they were paid for it.
It’s no secret by now that the men and women’s teams negotiated vastly different labor contracts which made an apples-to-apples difficult…if not impossible.
One iSpot data point, however, that is now clear is the TV advertising revenue. The USSF has often claimed that women’s soccer generates much less revenue than the men’s soccer team. If you’re only looking at ticket sales, this is partially true (although since 2016, women’s sales have exceeded men’s), but when you include marketing, broadcast and sponsorship agreements, it gets more tenuous.
The USSF complicates this argument by bundling men and women’s marketing, broadcast and sponsorship agreements together, and these arrangements represent about half of the over $100m in revenue generated each year. An understanding of the relative contribution to TV broadcast revenue provides valuable insight into the different between the two.
Here’s what the data shows:
The Average Cost Per Ad (SQAD data referenced) is Only Going Up
- Average cost per ad for the Women’s World Cup has skyrocketed since 2015
- In 2019, the average cost per ad surpassed the 2018 men’s final
- The networks are getting smarter and are charging more for the Women’s final, and they are getting it.
The Womens’ World Cup Matches NCAA and MLB Finals
- Impressions for advertisers: the Women’s World Cup Soccer final represented a similar value to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final and an even higher average than the MLB All-Star Game, MLB World Series and Men’s World Soccer Cup Final.
The Womens’ World Cup second to the Super Bowl
- The Womens’ World Cup outperformed the men’s and exceeded every other sports event except for the Super Bowl (for concurrent reach, which is the percentage of TVs tuned in during the game)
Equal pay is not simply men’s pay vs. women’s. There are many factors that play into whether a gap is due to gender or race. This problem, however, is 100% solvable in sports and in Corporate America. Companies who are still shying away from ongoing pay analyses due to ‘lack of budget’ or failure to implement structured compensation systems, are living in the dark ages. Technology now exists to quickly analyze and resolve these gaps and stay in compliance over time.
Commitment and standards are great starts for any company or sport. Only by knowing the current state of pay equity can companies develop targeted strategies to do better. Leaders must be honest with their employees if they want to keep them, regardless of gender. If you are saying you have policies that support women with flexibility, but you’re not following those up with action, you are going to lose trust from women, and women will make the rational choice to leave.
About the guest post author:
Maria Colacurcio, CEO of Syndio, an HR analytics platform with a mission to eradicate workplace pay disparities, can greatly speak to how this discrimination is sadly nothing new, and how through looking at data from iSpot, we are able to measure TV audience sizes (impressions) and reach by program and ad – further showcasing these pay discrepancies.