Why Women Who Win the World Cup Earn $2 Million While Men Earn $8 Million For Losing

Vancouver, Canada - Sunday, July 5, 2015: The USWNT defeat Japan 5-2 to win the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final at BC Place.

The pay gap between male and female workers doesn’t just exist at the office — it’s also present in sports.

The Women’s World Cup championship game kicked off Sunday evening in Vancouver, Canada at BC Place Stadium. Millions worldwide watched a game that would eventually end with a controversial outcome — according to Mary Pilon for Politico — not in terms of scoring, or sportsmanship or penalties — but in terms of the winning payout.

The game ended with a decisive 5-2 U.S. victory, but what exactly did the U.S. team win?

The take-home prize this year for the Women’s U.S. team was $2 million, which seems a handsome enough reward until it is compared to what the male winners of last year’s World Cup won: Germany took home $35 million in prize money in 2014. For further comparison, men’s teams who lose in the first round of the World Cup still walk away with $8 million — they get $1.5 million just for participating.

The overall payout for this year’s entire women’s World Cup tournament was $15 million, which is $20 million less than what Germany won last year.

In 2014, women’s soccer teams had a salary cap of $200,000 per team; men’s teams had a salary base of $3.1 million.

Pilon — who makes the egregious mistake of omitting, or perhaps just being ignorant of, revenue facts between various men’s and women’s sports organizations — also points out the gender pay differences in other sports.

The total PGA tournament prize money for men, for instance, was five times greater than the LPGA, as men took home $250 million compared to women’s $50 million winning total. In the WNBA, the base salary for players last year was $38,000, while the lowest an NBA player could be paid was $490,180.

According to Nielsen ratings, the U.S. women’s national team’s victory over Japan was the highest metered market rating ever for a soccer game on a network, drawing in over 22 million viewers by the game’s end.

While the pay gap between male and female sports teams is drastic, to say the least, there is little to be done until more publicity is consistently generated by women’s athletic events.

Image via US Soccer

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