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Women US Soccer Players Sue for Equal Wages

 
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Mar, 2019 08:51 pm
@engineer,
I think you are grossly overestimating the success of gender equality of tennis.

1. The top tennis player in Japan is Ken Nishikori by any measure except for one. He is currently ranked #7 in the world, and was #3 in gross earnings. You claimed the top player is Naomi Osaka, and obviously you want the top player in Japan to be a woman, but it isn't true (except for her one exceptional performance).

Comparing the rankings in woman's tennis to the ranking in men's is a little silly... obviously the top ranked woman is either going to be tied or better than the top ranked man in her country. That's not impressive... it's just counting apples and oranges.

2. The top 4 highest paid tennis players in 2018 were men (including Ken Nishikori).

3. On average, in the open market of ticket resale, tickets for the men's open are 5 to 6 times higher than the cost of a woman's ticket. There was a recent exception where people wanted to see Serena Williams play, but that is exception not a trend, and even then the cost of ticket to see the men was higher.

If tennis is an example of what would happen if you artificially raise the economic value of woman's sports, I don't think it is a good one for the point you are trying to make.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 05:37 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

1. The top tennis player in Japan is Ken Nishikori by any measure except for one. He is currently ranked #7 in the world, and was #3 in gross earnings. You claimed the top player is Naomi Osaka, and obviously you want the top player in Japan to be a woman, but it isn't true (except for her one exceptional performance).

Osaka is a two time grand slam winner (the last two) and the number one player in the world on the woman's side. She draws huge crowds and is in the middle of sucking all the wind out of the endorsement business. Nishikori is great. His 2018 prize money was 1.8 million which is excellent and he has benefited by a previously empty endorsement field. Osaka's 2018 prize money was $6,394,289. You obviously need the top player in Japan to be a man, but Nishikori is not higher ranked nor does he earn more from his play. My guess is that two years from now when all the new endorsement contracts are inked, he won't be leading in that area either.
maxdancona wrote:

2. The top 4 highest paid tennis players in 2018 were men (including Ken Nishikori).

Are you including endorsements because you clearly can't say that based on prize money if you are including Nishikori. Either way, you completely make my argument. If the women's game was not economically viable, they top 100 would be men. It certainly is in soccer, maybe the top 1000.
maxdancona wrote:

3. On average, in the open market of ticket resale, tickets for the men's open are 5 to 6 times higher than the cost of a woman's ticket. There was a recent exception where people wanted to see Serena Williams play, but that is exception not a trend, and even then the cost of ticket to see the men was higher.

It's not an exception, it is the rule in tennis. Tennis is personality driven and right now, the four top personalities in tennis are Federer, Williams, Nadal, and Djokovic, probably in that order. That three of them are men and they have intense rivalries is a wonderful conjunction in tennis. Fifteen years ago, those names featured predominantly women and those tickets commanded top dollar. My guess is that five years from now when those four are retired, the women's game will again demand larger audiences than the men given the lack in the second tier of mens tennis. Tennis is also very similar to soccer in that the US men are very weak compared to the world. You don't have a lot of demand to see Isner play Tiafoe. Tiafoe is fun to watch, Isner (#9 in the world) not so much. A match between Stephens and Williams in Madison Square Garden would sell out in a day. You argue that a completely inferior men's product should command 3x the salary of a world class woman's product. Tennis is the perfect example of that being wrong.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 07:13 am
@maxdancona,
You are basing your argument on the fact that the top ranked woman's player (and the most successful woman's player) is from a different country than the top ranked men's player?

What are the odds that this wouldn't be the case?

This is a silly aegunent.. And Nishikori still earns considerably more money. That's the point.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 07:26 am
@maxdancona,
From the Australian open (Naomi's 2nd grand slam win)....

Quote:
The Women’s Finals will take place on Saturday night, and as it stands currently may be the best deal on the secondary market for this year’s tournament. A Lower Level seat can be found for $379, which is significantly cheaper than both Men’s Semifinal sessions and more than $200 cheaper than a lower-level seat during the Women’s Semifinal on Thursday. If looking to attend the Men’s Finals on Sunday, just getting past the gates will cost a healthy $765 per ticket. A lower-level seat in Section 5 starts from $1,400 on the secondary market.


https://www.forbes.com/sites/jesselawrence/2016/01/23/purchasing-australian-open-tickets-this-year-not-for-cheap-says-secondary-market/#5b6664fb5cd2

The market puts the value of the woman's Australian Open championship at less than a third of that of the men. This is after all of the progress made in woman's tennis that you have been trumpeting.

The fans are more excited to see the men.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 07:32 am
@maxdancona,
That is the exact argument you are using against the women soccer players.
maxdancona wrote:
The public wants to see Reynaldo, and Messi and Neymar far more than they want to see Hope and Solo. That is economic reality.

(Hope Solo is a single person by the way.) You want to compare the US women on equal turf, the top paid (May 2018) MLS player is Sebastian Giovinco. Not exactly a household name but he got paid $5.6 million in salary, $7.1 million in direct compensation. Since you value endorsements more than winnings, I tried to find what Giovinco is pulling down in endorsements but I couldn't find anything. There is not a single name I recognize on that list of highly paid MLS players. Alex Morgan has a string of endorsement contracts, so if endorsements represent capitalism at its finest, the true test of the public's affinity for players, then Morgan is worth far more than Giovinco.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 07:43 am
@engineer,
We are talking about economic reality. Economic reality is the reason that sports pay men more than women.

How much money does Alex Morgan make in endorsements? If Alex Morgan made more money from endorsements than say, Tim Howard in 2014, then you have a point.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 07:47 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

The market puts the value of the woman's Australian Open championship at less than a third of that of the men. This is after all of the progress made in woman's tennis that you have been trumpeting.

The fans are more excited to see the men.

Absolutely. It's funny you would use that to illustrate your point because it shows a lot of ignorance about tennis. That match was between Nadal and Djokovic, the number one rivalry in the history of tennis. (Less discerning fans might say Federer - Nadal is a bigger rivalry.) If you are arguing who is the greatest men's player of all time, those are two of the only three names people seriously mention. It was the UNC vs Duke of the tennis secondary market. Saying secondary prices for tickets on that match prove the superiority of the men's game is like saying the UNC-Duke secondary sales proves the superiority of the college basketball game to the NBA. What makes it more humorous is that the women's final was spectacular tennis, brilliant shotmaking, amazing rallies, etc while the men's final was boring. It alternates back and forth and the men often have the better final, but the women put on a better tournament and a better final in 2019.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 07:58 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

We are talking about economic reality. Economic reality is the reason that sports pay men more than women.

Then you concede that Osaka is the number one player in Japan? She has a higher ranking, has won at the highest levels of the game and was paid more in 2018 and will be paid more in 2019?

The economic reality is that decades of discrimination against women both here in the US and especially abroad means that there is no venue for the women to compete for equal pay.

These are the attendance figures for the USMNT in 2018.
1/28/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina – StubHub Center – 11,161
3/27/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Paraguay – WakeMed Soccer Park – 9,825
5/28/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Bolivia – Talen Energy Stadium – 11,882
9/7/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Brazil – MetLife Stadium – 32,489
9/11/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – Nissan Stadium – 40,194
10/11/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Colombia – Raymond James Stadium – 38,631
10/16/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Peru – Pratt & Whitney Stadium – 24,959

Lucky for them, they play Mexico and Brazil. When the men play some country no one cares about, they pull in 11,000 people.

Here are numbers for the USWNT, not counting the WC qualifiers where there was no promotion (because FIFA does not bother to promote women's soccer games).
1/21/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Denmark – SDCCU Stadium – 17,526
3/1/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. Germany – Mapfre Stadium – 14,591
3/4/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. France – Red Bull Arena – 25,706
3/7/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. England – Orlando City Stadium – 12,351
4/5/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – TIAA Bank Field – 14,360
4/8/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – BBVA Compass Stadium – 15,349
6/7/18 – Friendly – USA vs. China – Rio Tinto Stadium – 13,230
6/12/18 – Friendly – USA vs. China – First Energy Stadium – 12,335
7/26/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Japan – Children’s Mercy Park – 18,467
7/29/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Australia – Pratt & Whitney Stadium – 21,570
8/2/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Brazil – Toyota Park – 18,309
8/31/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Chile – StubHub Center – 23,544
9/4/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Chile – Avaya Stadium – 14,340

Do those number indicate a huge disparity in the public's appetite for men's and women's soccer?
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 07:59 am
There is no objective reason to believe that even in your hypothetical perfect world, women would be paid as much as men for physical sports. You want it to happen, but that isn't how economics work. The market favors the products that most appeal to the consumers.

In sports, we want to see the best, the strongest, the fastest and the most powerful human beings perform. That is why we pay athletes so much. Men routinely make shots at 80mph (I just googled). Women routinely make shots at 67mph. Both of these are far better than I expect I can do, but so what.

If I want to see the strongest most powerful soccer players playing the fastest game, I will watch the men.

This isn't just soccer, we choose sports that show physicality. We cheer when a linebacker makes a crushing tackle (although now it only counts if it is legal). We love to see a dominant slam dunk over a hapless defender.

Men will always be able to give a faster, stronger more physical game. If this wasn't the case, we wouldn't need a segregated woman's league, we would just have men and women compete on the same field (rumors are this might happen soon in the NFL).

When there are two different products that do the same thing, but one of them is faster, stronger and more powerful, it is only logical to expect that one will be more highly by the market. No matter how much you market the Toyota Corolla, the Camry will always be valued more highly by the market.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 08:02 am
@engineer,
Attendance figures are nothing, unless you tell me the prices that people paid to get into these contests?

Market value is a well-defined quantity... it is the value that people are willing to pay. If you are comparing attendance at an event that costs $10 with attendance at an event that costs $90, then it means nothing.

It is a very simple question... what are people willing to pay for a ticket. You are cherry picking strange figures to try to support your case when the simple data shows you are wrong. If you can show me data that people were willing to pay more money to see women playing soccer then they were willing to pay to see men, then you have a point (although it should be a long-term trend, the 2015 USWMT was an exception because of their success... but let's see if you can even do that).

Why can't we just compare apples with apples?


engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 09:33 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

In sports, we want to see the best, the strongest, the fastest and the most powerful human beings perform.

So then in your hypothetical perfect world, Floyd Mayweather is insignificant as a boxer. He was not the biggest, he did not have the longest reach, the hardest punch, he was just the most skilled boxer ever. No one ever argued he would win the heavyweight title, but people paid to see him play. In your hypothetical world, biology is everything, skill is a minimal component. In your hypothetical world, US tennis player John Isner who is 6'10" and uses that height to generate one of the best serves in the history of tennis should command much more than any woman although he has one of the worst return games in top level men's tennis and primarily wins matches because no one can touch his serve. He is tremendously boring to watch, but he is more powerful than any woman player so in your version of meritocracy, he should command all the money, right?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 09:48 am
@engineer,
I am talking about the real world (not a hypothetical one). In the real world, economic realities have never supported paying female athletes at the same level as male athletes.

Floyd Mayweather convinced fans to shell out thousands of dollars (or tens of thousands) a piece to see him perform. He dominated his opponents (who happened to be male but I don't think you are arguing that any female boxers would have beaten him). There are female heavyweight boxers who don't make nearly as much because they can't command the ticket prices (I am curious if you can name a female heavyweight boxer without googling her).

I was thinking of the experiment that you are proposing, and this experiment has been done in the world of college sports. With title IX a lot more money was spent in woman's sports. This isn't a perfect experiment... but it is a pretty good one. You would expect in college sports for the market value of a ticket for a woman's basketball game to be the same as one for a men's basketball game. The participation of woman's sports in college has increased by a factor of almost 10.

The disparity in the cost of tickets hasn't equalized. Consider the vaunted UConn woman's basketball team which has been dominant for years... the tickets for the men's team games still cost 50% more.

The world isn't perfect, that is my point. In the real world people want to see the speed, power and aggressive behavior that men display, and women have trouble imitating. This isn't the politically correct answer, but it is reality.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 10:07 am
This little tag line about "the women offered a revenue-sharing plan"...

What does this mean? I keep seeing this little talking point. I don't think it means that the women are willing to base their salary on the money that the women bring in on revenue.

Do you have details on what this means (other than the talking point). The text of the CBA doesn't seem to be available online.

engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 10:29 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

It is a very simple question... what are people willing to pay for a ticket. You are cherry picking strange figures to try to support your case when the simple data shows you are wrong. If you can show me data that people were willing to pay more money to see women playing soccer then they were willing to pay to see men, then you have a point (although it should be a long-term trend, the 2015 USWMT was an exception because of their success... but let's see if you can even do that).

Why can't we just compare apples with apples?

Because apples to apples doesn't exist. Part of the lawsuit was that the USSL refused to price the tickets similarly. Do you really think that people willing to travel to see the USWNT play would have balked at paying a price similar to that paid to see the men? Price them the same and measure the results. Your argument is the women don't draw the attention the men do, then when you see numbers showing that they do, you say the tickets aren't priced the same, then when you hear the USSL won't price the tickets the same you say because there is not the same interest.

If your argument that only the biggest, fastest, strongest command the public's interest were correct, you would argue that the very best college team would not receive the support that the worst pro team receives in any sport. Tell that to an Alabama or Clemson fan. See earlier mentioned after market ticket sales for the last month's Duke-UNC game. Fans enjoy good sporting events between well matched, skilled opponents. That is what they get with the USWNT. They play great opponents, they play them well and they represent their country successfully. The USMNT, not so much. I can't see why you would reward mediocrity and refuse to reward excellence because well, it's always been that way. I can't see why you would justify making the women play in substandard conditions and suffer more arduous travel conditions for the same reason.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 10:51 am
@engineer,
You are misstating my argument. The reason that women are paid less then men is because the market values men's sports more. That is the primary point I am making.

This happens on the open reseller market where prices float freely based on what the market will bear. I don't think you have an argument here, this is pretty clear objective economics. And this is not just world cup soccer, this is pretty consistent across sports from basketball to golf.

Quote:
Fans enjoy good sporting events between well matched, skilled opponents.


Sure, this is true, but it misses the point. I am not saying that people don't enjoy woman's sports.

Fans are willing to pay far more for sporting events featuring men. And that is the reason that men are paid more.


engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 11:00 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I am talking about the real world (not a hypothetical one). In the real world, economic realities have never supported paying female athletes at the same level as male athletes.

Floyd Mayweather convinced fans to shell out thousands of dollars (or tens of thousands) a piece to see him perform. He dominated his opponents (who happened to be male but I don't think you are arguing that any female boxers would have beaten him). There are female heavyweight boxers who don't make nearly as much because they can't command the ticket prices (I am curious if you can name a female heavyweight boxer without googling her).

You have stated that "In sports, we want to see the best, the strongest, the fastest and the most powerful human beings perform. That is why we pay athletes so much." Mayweather is not the strongest, the fastest, most powerful human being, he was just the best and he demonstrated that against people similar to himself. No one expected him to demonstrate his skill against someone who outweighed him by 100lb to justify his salary. This is the standard you want to hold women to. Your position is no matter their skill, their mastery of their sport, the entertainment value they bring, they shouldn't be paid the same as the guys. I disagree. There are absolutely people willing to see women demonstrate magnificent physical skills against other women. The USWNT attendance numbers show that. There is absolutely a financial market to pay for it. Women's tennis shows that.

The impact of decades of substandard treatment in crippling a sport cannot be understated. I have a coworker who was a college standout soccer player. We were discussing the lawsuit and she said that when she realized that there was no opportunity for her to play professionally, she dropped soccer because to compete at the level she wanted to compete at would have been all consuming. (After the last World Cup, Carli Lloyd did some interviews about her rise to the top and it's pretty much insane what she had to do athletically.) The serious players she knew were holding down two jobs on top of soccer to make ends meet. There is no way to do this and do what it takes to be the best. If you pay substandard wages, you will get a substandard product which justifies you paying substandard wages. Back to tennis, Danielle Collins made has made a big splash recently with a deep slam run and a tier one title. She won the NCAA's twice and people were telling her to go pro, but the dirty little secret of pro tennis is that the big dogs make good money while the journeymen struggle to make ends meet between flying to tournaments, paying for coaches and hotels, etc. Despite her bonafides, only the appearance of a white knight who offered to sponsor her allowed her the freedom to pursue tennis. Women's soccer in the US is still essentially an amateur sport. Except for the 30ish women on the US national team, no players are really treated like pros or paid a living wage and even on the national team, their treatment is significantly different than the men. The women train as hard as the men, play as hard as the men, perform better than the men, pay them similarly.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 11:02 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

This little tag line about "the women offered a revenue-sharing plan"...

Try here although it doesn't break down the full details.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 11:23 am
@engineer,
Quote:
Your position is no matter their skill, their mastery of their sport, the entertainment value they bring, they shouldn't be paid the same as the guys. I disagree. There are absolutely people willing to see women demonstrate magnificent physical skills against other women. The USWNT attendance numbers show that. There is absolutely a financial market to pay for it. Women's tennis shows that.


No. You keep misstating my position. This isn't it. Let me try again. Salaries for athletes (male or female) are set by economic reality. Women are paid less because the market value of woman's sports, as set by what fans are willing to pay, is considerably lower.

Attendance numbers don't matter (the lower the ticket price the greater the attendance). The perceived skill against other women doesn't matter.

What matters is economic reality, what consumers are willing to pay.

You are making the assumption that paying women more will lead to them producing a product that has equal market value to men's soccer. I see no objective reason to believe that this will be the case, and plenty of evidence from multiple examples in both college and professional sports that this is wishful thinking.



0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 11:24 am
@engineer,
In your understanding, are the women offering to be paid according to the revenue that they bring in... and that in years that women bring in less revenue they will accept being paid less then the men?

That would be an interesting offer if this is the case...
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 11:31 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You are misstating my argument. The reason that women are paid less then men is because the market values men's sports more. That is the primary point I am making.

You make two arguments. The one above and the one about people only wanting to see "the best, the strongest, the fastest and the most powerful human beings perform." That's your quote. Both of these I've addressed.

maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Fans enjoy good sporting events between well matched, skilled opponents.

Sure, this is true, but it misses the point. I am not saying that people don't enjoy woman's sports.

Fans are willing to pay far more for sporting events featuring men. And that is the reason that men are paid more.

Pay the women equally, charge equal prices and watch the results. The USWNT is arguing that they have great attendance, fully on par with the men and they bring more prestige and publicity to US soccer than the men so their intangibles are better as well. If you have seen an interview by a US national team soccer player about US soccer, it is likely it has been a woman. The USWNT is the successful face of US soccer, the men's team is in complete disarray. If your only argument at this point is ticket prices, then raise the prices. I think I could make a very good econ 101 argument that the optimum price point for USWNT tickets is higher than it sits and the USSL is underpricing them for some reason. (I would also argue that for the men's team, they should jack up the prices for Brazil and Mexico games and dramatically cut prices for the rest and question the elasticity of demand versus ticket prices in general, but that would be a different thread.)
 

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