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The women of the U.S. national soccer team are famous for being extraordinary athletes, repeat world champions — and plaintiffs.

The team’s lawsuit alleging pay discrimination against the U.S. Soccer Federation has done much to define its identity.

A nearly perfect run through the World Cup has been widely interpreted as vindication of the merits of its case, so much so that fans chanted “equal pay” after the U.S. victory in the final over the Netherlands and booed the head of FIFA, the sponsor of the World Cup, during the trophy ceremony.

Rich Lowry mug

Rich Lowry

It’s not to take anything away from the women’s achievement — they never trailed the entire tournament — to note that the equal-pay complaint is almost entirely bunk.

It is true that the American women, who sweat and practice as much as their male compatriots (perhaps more, given their superior results), don’t make as much. But the women’s game isn’t as popular or profitable, which fundamentally drives pay.

The total prize money for the women’s 2019 World Cup was $30 million, with the champion taking away about $4 million. The total prize money for the men’s 2018 World Cup was $400 million, with the champions winning $38 million.

This seems blatantly unfair, until you take into account the completely different viewership and revenue from the two events. FIFA raked in more than $6 billion from the 2018 men’s World Cup. The women’s 2019 World Cup has been projected, when all is said and done, to make about $130 million.

The women’s tournament this year may have garnered about a billion viewers across all platforms, nothing to sneeze at, but the 2018 men’s World Cup had more than a billion viewers just for the final game.

It has been reported that the U.S. women’s team has been generating more game revenue than the U.S. men the past couple of years.

This is telling, although not quite in the way that those who allege pay discrimination think. The women are celebrities and cultural heroes, winners of four Olympic gold medals and four World Cups. The men are nobodies who failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup. Yet from 2016 to 2018, according to The Wall Street Journal, the women barely out-earned the men, $50.8 million to $49.9 million.

The lawsuit’s explanation for a smaller audience for the women’s team is what it calls “manufactured revenue depression,” a deliberate effort by the federation to squelch the women’s reach and undercut their ticket prices.

Perhaps the federation should have done more, and can do more, to promote the women’s game, but the smaller women’s audience can’t be the work of one organization.

Another element of pay for women’s and men’s players is their play for professional leagues, where the scale of the audiences is, again, vastly different.

The National Women’s Soccer League has two strong teams that average more than 10,000 fans per game, but the other seven teams in the league average fewer than 5,000. Sky Blue FC, based in Piscataway, New Jersey, averages 1,432.

By way of comparison, the worst of the men’s Major League Soccer teams, the Chicago Fire, averages 11,417. The best-attended team, Atlanta United, has drawn roughly 70,000 people for four home games this season, about the total attendance for all NWSL games so far.

All that said, according to a Washington Post analysis, the women’s national team actually made more in bonuses and salary than the men in 2018 (although they played more games and, needless to say, won more).

The women and men have two different collective bargaining agreements, and different World Cup hoops to jump through, so making direct apple-to-apple comparisons is complicated.

It’s hard to argue, though, with the simple approach the women say that they have proposed in the past — revenue sharing based on how much money they bring in.

There’s risk to this arrangement if the women underperform, but this group is nothing if not self-confident, and so far has always delivered.

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Rich Lowry can be reached via e-mail: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com.

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(61) comments

Redwall

How much salary do ladies team members make?

martian2

google it freehan/redwall

crank

We followed their progress through the tournament and watched some of the games. They are definitely talented athletes and deserve a chance to negotiate the best compensation they are able to get. Lowry pointed out reality of the economics of women’s soccer in the US. In doing so, he has triggered wailing from the usual suspects. It would be like the women in the WNBA complaining they don’t make as much as their male counterparts in the NBA because they’re not men. Nah... there are other reasons as outlined accurately in this column.

oldhomey

Dang, crank, where do you get off, using the word "we", like you speak for all of us, huh? Huh? Are you the head of some organization of soccer fans that you have appointed yourself as official spokesperson? Huh? Huh? Or are you using the royal "we", because you are so narcissistic that you feel you are an authority on high commenting for the benefit of the rest of us peons? Huh? Huh? An outrageous use of language that simply speaks volumes about what is wrong with you and all that you stand for, I guess. At least according to the standards you have laid out elsewhere about the use of the word "we".

crank

Nope, unlike you, I do not try to pretend I’m speaking for anyone as though speaking for others. WE was used to describe actual events in my home... WE watched the US women’s soccer team play.

You still seem a bit butt hurt by the fact I caught you using the word WE in your pontificating as though your whiny opinions and rants are shared by others. It’s just you and the sock puppet...though just one guy. #kingofkings

oldhomey

Gosh, crank, I am not sure I can believe you when you say you can authoritatively use the highly volatile word "we" when you lay out the premise that you and others inside your house collectively watched the U.S. women's soccer matches on television. Could you on your use of the word, however. Could provide some documentation certifying that others in your home sat with you watching those contests, and that you are authorized to speak on their behalf? Somebody else on these boards got his panties twisted in a knot about me using the controversial word "we", so I want to help you here to avoid setting off a cause celebre with your use of this troublesome word.

Rick Czeczok

How is it that Old Homley can remove his original post and replace it with another one, as was done here? And how can Cassy swear and it goes through not once but three times? No one else can do that except people who write for or work for this paper. I smell a scam... Thank God! I don't have to pay for this garbage paper. Thanks you socialist posters on here for the paper. Some day you idiots will figure out how I do this but thanks for the humor and fun I have with you clowns.

Cassandra2

How is it that a Russian agent can continue to post lies day after day from his troll farm in St. Petersburg and the operators of this forum never ban him? How is it that someone who continually makes up defamatory stories about people and hurls juvenile insults gets to maintain an account? How is it that someone who claims to know the identities of other posters and makes all manner of ridiculous claims isn't permanently banned from these forums? I guess that, like Chippy and several others, one has to make sexual or violent threats before getting the boot.

Rick Czeczok

OK now remember who started the name calling here. You are a super obese person who has no clue as to what they are talking about and use this forum to make yourself feel important is not taken seriously in real life. If you want to know where I live, look it up on the web you moron. My life is an open book while you continue to hide as once people have your real name, the people that know you would find you hilarious. You have been laughed at I would believe most of your life porcky (spelled wrong so it doesn't count).HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Cassandra2

The Comrade continues to spin paranoid fantasies about me and everyone else who calls out his nonsense. It's all part of the troll's mission to spread misinformation, sow dissent, and undermine American values. Well, dear Comrade, since you claim to know who I am, I am once again daring you to put up or shut up. Make public your claims of who I am. You can't, because like everything else you say, your claim is utter BS.

DMoney

How is it that someone who literally and directly wishes a violent death upon another commenter is allowed to continue posting (johnnybragatti)?

martian2

you need to share the direct quote D, not just make accusations. As far as who is allowed to stay on these postings, why don't you mention Ricky and his billowing buffoonery of personal insults and moronic adolescent behavior. Why don't you mention him ever? Could it be he gets a pass because he is on the "right" side.

capedcrusader

I wouldn't stick up for Czeczok if I were you. He's been trolling and trying to find out about other people for a couple of years now. We don't know for sure he is using his "real" name. He only says it is... And he won't tell anyone what he taught much less where. I don't believe he was a teacher for one minute. I believe he's lying just like several others on here.

DMoney

How does wishing a violent death upon someone even remotely compare to any insults, foul language or sarcasm? It's about the worst thing you can say to someone. I would defend anyone against such talk, aside from maybe a terrorist or convicted murderer or rapist. I would hope any reasonable person would do the same.

martian2

again D, you need to share the post that said someone wished a violent death to someone else. You constantly fail to provide proof on any of your posts. Otherwise you are just spitting in the wind and making yourself look foolish....again.

martian2

comparing ricky boy's crazy comments to someone else's gives D the reason he supports ricky boy with his silence. Giving ricky boy the pass because someone else is supposedly worse is another cop out.

DMoney

If any of your liberal friends have any integrity or honor, they'll validate my claim. I don't know which column he said it. But it was as clear and direct as possible.

capedcrusader

DMoney, when you accuse somebody of something you don't agree with at least back it up with some proof that it happened. Otherwise, it sounds to me like you are just working with Czeczok to start more trouble. And if that's your objective get a life. I am still surprised the Tribune keeps letting him get away with trolling and lying. And wanting to know everyone's identity so he can make it all about that. He does that and unless you are brain dead you know it. He's been doing it for a long time. I believe it's somebody who got the boot on here and it's "his" way of starting trouble and having fun. Probably somebody who is retired and pissed off at Rusty. You wouldn't know anything about that would you?

capedcrusader

Well, if you remember, it was "Chippy" who was fat shaming you for several months and he was allowed to get away with that BS. Then he went on for several weeks trying to be cute by swearing numerous times. Remember when he found Trumps word "shithole" and kept using it day after day? Remember it was "Chippy" who wanted to know who everyone was like "Czeczok"? Remember it wasn't long after that when he got the boot? See any parallels at all? Somebody, I won't say who, but somebody is very bitter and letting martini's get the best of him. I'm glad that person isn't our Mayor!

oldhomey

Ricky, you definitely need to see a doctor. Where are you getting this idea that I had a different post on here, had it removed and now replaced it with something else. If you remember the original post so well, perhaps you can clue me and others reading this what the gist of my original post was? How did it differ from what you surmise now is a "replacement" post? You ought to be able to do that for us. As for your equally zany hallucination that I am employed by this paper, gosh, what happened to your hallucination that I am struggling to survive in my retirement by Social Security due to my poor life planning? One other thing. If you are not paying for this paper, you should not be on here more than seven times a month. Would you clarify for me that you are a non-subscriber, please? That sounds just like Red, one of your compatriots on here who used to boast that he would never pay a cent to the Tribune again. You don't see him on these boards much any more, do you, Ricky? Perhaps about seven times a month? I will recommend that, unless you pay for the privilege of reading and writing into this newspaper every day like the rest of do, you join Red as one of our "occasional" guests on these boards.

DMoney

Can you please tell me which article it was with your in depth research? I tried finding it, based on your comment history but it wouldn't go back that far. I'll happily respond.

oldhomey

Yes, I am completely sure that you would, even though I repeated the request for three days on I believe at least three different columns that you were posting on concurrently with my requests. I don't know how to recover the request now, either, so I guess you are off the hook, which i what you undoubtedly hoped for, anyway.

capedcrusader

Oldhomey, I think the martini's are getting to him again. He appears to be having trouble keeping his charade going. Interesting to see who's going out of his way to defend the little shitt.

Cassandra2

Clearly, according to Mr. Lowry, Trump and the straight, white, "christian," male crowd are the victims yet again.

DMoney

Jealous?

crank

#identitypolitics [whistling]. Cassandra is like one of those old toys with the string in the back...pull it and listen to the little voice say hi he same things over and over and over and over.

Cassandra2

Unable to argue the merits of my statement, the crank just starts hurling around republican talking points.

oldhomey

Unlike your echo chamber posts, eh, big fella?

DMoney

I truly think she wishes she was a white, straight, male. It IS pretty nice... but don't we all already know that...

oldhomey

We have seen over and over again what you truly think, D. This is one of your most presumptuous thoughts, ever. Since you are the man with no data who insists on data for everything stated on these boards, perhaps you could provide some data backing up your presumption in your 7:22pm post? No? I didn't think so, The same as my repeated requests for you to answer some questions in the same manner that I answered questions you asked of me recently. You ignored the questions until they aged out and disappeared. Nice.

DMoney

It's called privilege, and white straight males have it. But instead of being shamed about it, I embrace it. If Cassandra wants to constantly try and use it as slander, I'll constantly embrace it. I'll respond to your comment as soon as I get ample time, this weekend. We're not all retired.

Cassandra2

No thanks, D-Bag. While I know plenty of those folks and call them "friend" I'd rather be precisely who I am.

martian2

wow, real mature there D. And along with that your promote and embrace privilege on the basis of skin color. Your racist colors are showing again. Yes very mature and enlightening. You are going to be known as Ricky II, a sequel to the original, and both get a thumbs down.

DMoney

As you should, C-bag, as you should.

DMoney

Presuming you are white, are you ashamed of that? Do you acknowledge it's an advantage? If yes, kindly shut your lips. If no, you are a liar and ignorant.

DMoney

You forget, I'm a millennial. I am ingrained with this. I know and accept privilege. I have advantages I didn't work for, or achieve in any way. But I also didn't ask for them. Therefore, while I recognize them, I'm not ashamed of them. J never flaunt or even acknowledge them, except when someone tries to issue shame.

capedcrusader

DMoney - then you ought to be all over Czeczok for fat shaming people. I never once read where you stood up to that.

oldhomey

D, it is fine to embrace privilege only if you are human enough and honest enough to try to use your privilege to extend it to those who do not have your privileges. If you are not doing that, it means you are willing to use your privilege to exploit others to your advantage, whether for financial or other advantages to the detriment of those you exploit. You may not be a religious person but life has a way of making sure that you reap what you sow. You don't have to be a self-flagellating ascetic monk taking a vow of poverty. Doing well in life is fine and desirable. But doing well at the expense of others is not good. You give every indication that you are driven by personal greed.

martian2

I certainly would enjoy listening to those pull string toys instead of your ill informed blabbering you constantly plaster all over these pages there cranky.

Redwall

We hear a lot of "macro" numbers, but how much money does a female soccer player earn? What are their rights to promotional earnings beyond base wages? Rapinoe is surely not upstaging her team mates without a goal of self promotion to earn more money. And this is the first time I heard these players are represented by a union. So they have already collectively bargained for their wages.

Rick Czeczok

When the revenues come in then they get payed more. This is not title 9 which destroyed many boys sports, but that was OK, and fair to many. How is that fair in any world? If a sport can not support itself, it should not be able to suck off the top of other sports and take well earned money to buy better equipment, better facilities, etc to those sports. Nothing is a give me, as one way or another there is a cost associated with everything. As far as soccer, well enough said.

oldhomey

I certainly can be as oblivious as the next person, Ricky, but I thank the Lord that I am not as oblivious as you.

capedcrusader

Czeczok doesn't understand that most sports can't support themselves. Without football and it's revenue most of them wouldn't exit.

Rick Czeczok

Really what about basketball, and baseball? No the ones that do not support themselves are softball, soccer, and vollyball to name a few. Those programs never come close to paying for themselves. I have no problem with any sports but they have to support themselves or the parents need to pay for these sports if they want their children to play. You and your socialist friends on here just expect everyone to pay for everything free,free, free. Nothing is free it all has to be payed for. Do you even have children?

oldhomey

Perhaps, Ricky, you could look up all the men's intercollegiate sports teams at the University of Wisconsin and those here at UWL and Viterbo and tell us how each of them earns their own keep through revenues each generates. Fat chance on both scores --that many of them support themselves and that you will do the research.

capedcrusader

Czeczok - MOST Universities around the country wouldn't have much in the way of sports programs if it wasn't for football revenue. That includes baseball. The basketball programs generate revenue but the landscape of college sports programs would be significantly different without the dollars that football contributes with TV revenue. That's the reality. In other words in my opinion it would be terrible for young people involved in athletics.

Rick Czeczok

And that's why you are so wishy-washy. Flavor of the day guy you are. So were you oblivious to the facts when you dodged the draft of the Vietnam war where you later went to Nam to work and make profits on the war, when others your age were dying. Yeah you're a real piece of work pal. You will answer for that in the end. Now go lay by your dish old man

Cassandra2

Still waiting for the great unmasking, Comrade Zerocock. I DARE YOU to tell the world who you claim to know I am. You won't because you can't. Either you are a total chickenshiit or just a liar. Which is it?

Rick Czeczok

Once again how do you get by with swearing on this board and no one else but Old Homly can? Are you one in the same or do/have you work for the tribune? Now to answer you once again as you seem to be pressing the issue. I will never give another persons name out as there are legal issues involved in doing so. You say you are not a troll yet here you are trolling. Deny that you weigh 400+lbs, then we know what a lier you are. Now back to your gallon of ice cream, we both know how much you love ice cream, now don't we.

Cassandra2

It's not swearing or vulgarity. It's a completely different spelling. Ask the automated filter.

Cassandra2

And I'm still waiting, Comrade. Put up or shut up. Who do you think I am?

johnnybragatti

Lowlife Lowry must be bored out of his mind. He doesn"t mention a thing, about the team"s disdain for trump and the fact they won"t show at the WH. Too funny ,the dude needs to find some volunteer work, someplace,somewhere ,somehow.

oldhomey

As much as I dislike this columnist and all that he stands for, in this case I sadly feel I cannot argue with his reasoning here. It is up to the women's soccer league to up the ante by growing the audience and revenues. You simply cannot blame anybody else for this. If I am missing something in concluding this, I would certainly be interested in hearing it out. I can be as oblivious as the next person.

martian2

I do feel the women soccer teams could bring in more money if the league did more promoting it. And a big way to bring in money is to have corporate sponsors and advertisers. Perhaps they need to step it up too and help promote women sports to the same point they promote men's sports, especially when it comes to soccer. Ricky nut case doesn't think title 9 was a good cause saying it wasn't good for men's sports, so some universities had to drop men sports. But he doesn't offer any examples of that happening. It did open up a whole new world of sports for young girls and women so they could be more than just spectators watching men play sports. I guess thats what crazy ricky wants, women to be in the role of subservient spectators only. No need to get their hopes up and one day play sports themselves.

Rick Czeczok

University of Wisconsin Madison baseball. You have absolutely no room to call anyone a nut case pal... This is the old Kingman who was thrown off this board for false statements and name calling, then got back by just using another false name. Looks like he is going back to his old ways. , I have noting to hide, that's why I use my real name. But these socialist activist on this board won't ever do that because there are a lot of skeletons in the closets and then they would have to explain themselves.

oldhomey

Perhaps, Ricky, you could provide for us some documentation that the University of Wisconsin killed its baseball program because of women's athletics? Is that the same reason that they no longer have a boxing team?

martian2

exactly, come on ricky boy prove that UM baseball was done in because of women sports. Don't be a chickenshit about it, just do it. I believe they used to have a rowing team too back in the day, did women sports do that in too?

martian2

well once again ricky boy proves his ignorance and why he should be banned from these discussions. Come one Tribune, get with it, ban Ricky boy and his type of behavior. Its your rules, enforce them please!

martian2

you know homey the right wingers here on these posts rarely if ever provide true documentation of what they claim to be true. Some never do provide any proof at all. Could it be because they don't know how to copy and paste, or are they ashamed of their questionable sources. All you hear is google it yourself. That's no proof, not even close. When you live in a world full of lies and half truths from fox and hate radio you must want to keep it a secret.

DMoney

I'll state again:. If they ban anyone for anything less than wishing violent death upon someone, I am quitting my subscription. Because they didn't even ban johnnybragatti (or at least I don't think so).

capedcrusader

So DMoney, again, post that comment you are bloviating about. I want you to clarify your accusation.

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