The pay-gap is shocking, however, sexism is not the real cause. It comes down to basic economics.
It is true that on average, female athletes are paid far less than male athletes. People argue that since women in sports work just as hard as men, they should receive equal pay.
Another argument is that women’s national teams for sports like soccer have far more success than the men’s national team.
While these arguments are valid from an emotional standpoint, they do not hold up when it comes to economics.
It is a sensitive topic that is easily attributed to misogyny. The fact of the matter is, you can’t pay people money that isn’t there.
The more your business brings in, the more it can afford to pay its employees.
For example, the average salary for a WNBA player is just over $100,000. Compared to the average salary of $7 million in the NBA, this seems outrageous.
However, the WNBA actually loses $10 million a year as an organization, with costs outweighing revenue.
In comparison, the NBA profits around $8 billion a year.
The NBA actually owns the WNBA, and with them failing to turn a profit, it is basically charity. When you look at it like that, the players are pretty fortunate to make a $100,000 salary for a net-loss company.
For the FIFA World Cup, the men’s tournament brought in $6 billion, with $400 million going to the participating teams. The women’s tournament brought in $131 million, with $30 million going to the teams. This shows that the women’s teams actually received a higher percent of the overall revenue than the men’s teams did.
Another common argument is that men’s sports are more highly advertised than women’s sports, leading to the difference in viewership.
Again, this comes down to business rather than sexism. A TV station is going to promote whatever brings in more viewers. More viewers equals more money for the station, and thus the organization.
Even in women’s sports, the majority of the viewership is men. Men make up more than half of the audience for the WNBA, WPGA, NCAAW and women’s soccer.
People are guilty of being outraged by the issue, and then turning on an NBA game over a WNBA game because it is more entertaining.
Female athletes are incredibly talented and hard working. Unfortunately, physical limitations keep them from providing the same viewing experience.
Stacey Pressman, female writer for ESPN, explained why she generally prefers men’s sports.
“I prefer a few women’s events, like tennis, but I refuse to be politically correct about basketball. I’m sorry, but 40 minutes of underhanded layups is not entertaining,” said Pressman.
There aren’t WNBA players throwing down fast-break windmill dunks like LeBron James, or pulling up to shoot from half-court like Steph Curry. Those are fun to watch.
If you want to see the pay-gap decrease, hold yourself accountable. Turn off the men’s games and start supporting the women that you advocate for.