Why female athletes earn less than men in most sports
Forbes published its annual look at the world the highest paid athletes this month, and the top 100 illustrates the stark contrast between the salaries of professional male and female athletes.
The gender pay gap extends to almost every industry, and sport is no different. But between particular sports, there are vast pay gaps between men and women, ranging from tennis, where the pay is comparable, to basketball, where players are in entirely different zip codes.
Female tennis players are the only female athletes to rank among the top winners over the past decade, with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Li Na all appearing multiple times on Forbes‘ listing. Excluding male star Roger Federer, elite female tennis players stack up against their male counterparts in terms of approval gains.
The most marketable tennis players have won four times as much with endorsements and appearance fees than they did with cash prizes in the past year. From 10 highest paid female athletes in 2018, nine were tennis players. Women in male-dominated sports such as racing driver Danica Patrick and UFC and WWE star Ronda Rousey have made some of the top earners in their sport while active.
In team sports, however, the situation for women is grim. The best WNBA salary was $ 117,500 last season, up from $ 37.4 million in the NBA. The team’s salary cap for the Pro Fastpitch National Softball League is $ 175,000; the Boston Red Sox will share $ 227 million in 2019. “The Yankees bat boy salary is more than my professional softball contract,” FNP player Delanie Gourley and member of the US Women’s National Team. wrote in a tweet deleted since.
“In team sports, it’s harder to stand out,” says Scott Minto, manager of the Sports MBA program at San Diego State University.
Women were more prominent among the highest paid athletes, but over the past 25 years media companies have spent billions on TV deals for live sports content. The result is an explosion in the salaries of players in the major men’s sports leagues. Team sports athletes represent 82% of Forbeslist of the highest paid athletes.
The gap in television money between the men’s and women’s sports leagues is huge. Major League Baseball is a $ 10 billion revenue giant, while NPF players earn an average of $ 5,000-6,000 due to the league’s low income. The WNBA generates about $ 25 million per year through its television deal with ESPN; NBA TV revenues from ESPN and TNT are 100 times higher.
The WNBA recently added a multi-year partnership with CBS Sports Network to broadcast 40 games next season, and the new pact builds on the league’s existing deal with ESPN. Greater TV exposure for players will lead to greater visibility, and greater visibility could lead to major agreements with endorsers in the future. Nike did not signature shoe for a WNBA player for over 20 years.
When the WNBA players union withdrew from its collective agreement in November, Los Angeles Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike, president of the union, written for The players’ stand: “It’s not just about salaries. These are small changes the league can make that will impact players. He’s a six-foot-nine superstar taking on a red-eyed cross-country and having to sit in an economy seat instead of an exit row. “The current deal with the league ends in October.
The pay disparities in baseball / softball and basketball depend almost entirely on the income generated by their leagues. The case is a bit murkier for the US women’s national football team, who are on the lookout for a second straight World Cup title and face Spain tomorrow after sweeping away all three of their pool matches. The team filed a lawsuit against US Soccer in March who declares: “Female WNT players would earn a maximum of $ 99,000 or $ 4,950 per game, while male MNT players in a similar situation would earn an average of $ 263,320 or $ 13,166 per game.” Players claim to be discriminated against when it comes to where and how often they play, the way they train and travel, the medical treatment and support they receive, and of course their salaries.
The matches of the American women’s football team have generated more income than the men’s team over the past three years, according to a review of the Wall Street newspaper. Fox Sports said the pool game against Chile had seen a record number of viewers for a women’s World Cup group stage match. US Soccer seems to have got the message, and both sides continue mediation after the World Cup to resolve the sex discrimination case instead of going to a courtroom.
As women and girls continue to fight for equal opportunities in the workplace, fields, arenas and courts have not been and will continue to be no exception.