Today is the anniversary of the first World Cup, which was held in 1930 in Uruguay. Last Friday, almost 85 years later, the US Women’s Soccer Team was feted for their victory in a New York City ticker tape parade. A moment quite sweet to contemplate – I was surprised at how many people I saw tuning in and watching the final game.
The economic reality of women’s professional sports is not so sweet. According to PBS, the US Women’s soccer team got $2 million for World Cup win; German men got $35 million in 2014. That New York City ticker tape parade cost almost as much as the US Women’s winnings.
In an interview with the Guardian, Jerome Valcke, Fifa’s secretary general, has argued the men’s World Cup prize money pool is so much larger because the men’s tournament generates more revenue. The men’s World Cup “brings in $4.5bn direct to Fifa,” he said...But women’s soccer is newer, which means the women could be waiting a long time to earn a payout like the German men did last year.
Yet, according to Amy Bass in her article on CNN’s web site, “Sunday's final averaged more than 26 million viewers, the largest U.S. soccer audience in history, besting the record set last summer by the U.S.-Portugal match. To put it more bluntly, and in a way that sponsors might want to consider, the audience for this final was bigger than any NBA basketball final since 2010 -- and every single game of baseball's World Series since 2004.”
Let’s hope that with this interest, the shift happens and soon!