A goal from Christian Pulisic sent Team USA from the group stage to the elimination games at the 2022 World Cup, a feat celebrated by American fans, players and the bank accounts of the Team USA men's — and now, the women’s — teams.
Here’s a look at how a recent ruling has generated equal pay for men and women on and off the soccer field.
What Happened: After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team found itself as one of the 32 teams that qualified for the 2022 World Cup.
Team USA advanced out of the group stage with a win and two draws, finishing as runner-up to England in Group B.
The advancement has Team USA facing off against the Netherlands on Sat. Dec. 3 in an elimination game that will air on Fox, a unit of Fox Corp FOX.
Players on the U.S. Men’s National Team will make at least $380,000 each in bonuses after advancing to the elimination portion of the 2022 World Cup, a figure that will go up if the team can beat the Netherlands as the underdogs in the match.
What makes this year’s tournament unique for the U.S. players is an agreement in May that has the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team get equal payouts as the men, despite not playing in the tournament, according to ESPN.
The $380,0000 is triple what the women made from the 2019 Women’s World Cup, a tournament won by Team USA and marked its fourth title in eight total World Cups. Women on that team earned a $110,000 bonus for winning the tournament.
Women on the roster for the 2023 Women’s World Cup for Team USA will get the same amount earned by the men in the 2022 World Cup.
The agreement reached earlier this year has 90% of the World Cup prize money pooled and shared equally.
The U.S's soccer governing body will award $440 million in prize money to the 32 teams that compete at the 2022 Men's World Cup. This figure is significantly higher than the $30 million that was the prize money for the 24 teams that competed at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Each country decides its own pay structure.
Why It’s Important: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team fought for years demanding equal pay after seeing the men’s team earn more despite lower on-field performance for global soccer.
Under the terms of the deal, 90% of FIFA bonuses from the 2022 and 2023 World Cups and 80% of the 2026 and 2027 World Cups will be pooled and split evenly.
The new agreement will see the women’s national team share in the success of the men’s team after years of triumph on the field. The men’s national team could also benefit in future years with another strong performance from the women’s team.
The prize money for the 2023 Women’s World Cup is expected to be $60 million, double what it was in 2019, a tournament that saw the winning team earn less in bonuses than the last-place men’s team in the 2018 World Cup.
One item that changed under the new agreement was the women’s soccer team no longer having guaranteed salaries for some players, instead operating under the pay-to-play payment structure the men’s team had been using.
Benzinga previously reported on the pay difference between players in the WNBA and NBA being a potential reason why stars such as Brittney Griner were playing in Russia in the offseason prior to her arrest.
The league minimum salary for NBA Players in the 2022-2023 season is $1.8 million, which is more than the five highest-paid WNBA players combined.
There are 89 NBA players that make more in the 2022-2023 season than the entirety of the WNBA, putting the pay difference in perspective.
Items such as television viewership, attendance, sponsorship and performance all contribute to payments for players and the debate in other sports will likely continue on.
A strong performance by the U.S. Men’s soccer team in 2022 and the U.S. Women’s soccer team in 2023, as well as strong television viewership for Fox for both teams, could help bring attention to the new model put forth in soccer.
Photo: Mikolaj Barbanell via Shutterstock
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