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Women’s soccer players can’t get ‘equal’ pay if they generate unequal revenue

U.S. players celebrate with the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy following victory July 7 in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between the United States and the Netherlands in Lyon, France.
U.S. players celebrate with the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy following victory July 7 in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between the United States and the Netherlands in Lyon, France. (Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)

I certainly can agree with Lorenda Naylor in her commentary, "Women’s World Cup winners: Four star performances deserve four star pay” (July 25), that playing facilities, etc. should be comparable to that of the U.S. men’s soccer team. But I do not understand why Ms. Naylor is proposing to bankrupt the Women’s World Cup to attain equal pay.

Soccer at the professional and international level only survives financially because of the entertainment value, meaning the money it brings in as revenue. If the women’s teams in their World Cup were paid $400 million, the same as the World Cup men’s teams, as Ms. Naylor suggests, the Women’s World Cup would lose $270 million dollars. Why? Because the Men’s World Cup generated $6 billion (with a "b") and the women generated $131 million (with an "m").

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Please understand that I watched every U.S. match in the Women’s World Cup and the other knock-out matches to see who the U.S. might play in the finals. I was excited for the U.S. women to win. Still, when I watched the men’s Gold Cup finals played that same day, I could see that the passing of the U.S. men was sharper and faster than the U.S. women even though the defense against them was sharper and faster. And, this was a regional competition, not the World Cup.

The men’s international competition is at a higher level than that of the women. That’s why they generate more revenue and therefore get more dollars as payout. There’s the other question to consider: When Europe’s women catch up in skill and talent (the next World Cup?) will Ms. Naylor be insisting that the U.S. women take a pay cut?

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Patrick Walsh, Linthicum

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