Back in May of this year, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution in support of equal pay for the U.S. women’s national team. It came at a time when the WNT was in one of their more contentious phases of their ongoing dispute with U.S. Soccer over how much they’re paid.
Now, Senator Patty Murray, who introduced the resolution, and Senator Dianne Feinstein are continuing their support by asking MLS commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO for a breakdown of SUM’s revenue between MNT and WNT, according to Travis Waldron at The Huffington Post. “We are interested in learning more about the amount of revenue generated by the Women’s Team and how the relative value of the Women’s Team and Men’s Team are assessed by SUM,” they wrote.
U.S. Soccer has often pointed to revenue as a reason why the men’s team is paid more than the women’s team, claiming the MNT makes more money. But with SUM refusing to release what the breakdown is between the MNT and WNT on things like marketing spending, broadcasting, or licensing rights, there’s no way to know what numbers USSF is basing their claims on, other than the federation simply saying that men’s soccer has historically made more money than women’s. Yet according to their own numbers, the WNT is steadily increasing their revenue and made more than the men in 2015. That “this is the way it’s always been” argument is starting to bump up against the beginnings of a new reality, that the WNT can be just as successful and profitable as the MNT with the right resources and support.
If SUM ends up providing the numbers and they show that, assuming equal resources, the MNT makes more than the WNT at the moment, that should simply provide more fuel for USSF in their upcoming contract negotiations with the WNT, since the team’s current contract expires at the end of 2016. But if the reverse is true...well, that’ll be interesting for everybody.