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Women US Soccer Players Sue for Equal Wages

 
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 11:33 am
@maxdancona,
Yes, that is my understanding. I think that was almost a direct quote from the lawsuit.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 11:45 am
@engineer,
1) You are being disingenuous. My consistent point is that people are willing to pay significantly more to see men's sporting events then they are to see women's events. That is just economic reality. I said this phrase to offer an explanation as to why people prefer men's sporting events to women's, you are using it out of context on a tangential point. The point is that on the open market, people are willing to pay far more for men's events.

2) You are suggesting a very expensive experiment. If we are going to start paying women at the same rate as men (without currently having the revenue on a consistent basis to do so), where does the money come from? You are hoping that things will turn out the way you think they should, but if they don't it will be an big economic loss.

US soccer does not exist to run social experiments. They exist as a business organization that must make the balance sheet work. If you raise the salaries of women you will have to lower the budget of some other part of the organization and risk harming their overall profitability. In your company, if you have a product that makes a lot of money and a similar product that doesn't make as much money, do you have the same impulse that they should be equal and want to make huge investments into the product that isn't earning as much?

3) For major soccer events, we know objectively what the true market value of tickets is. These tickets are sold on the open market by resellers whose only purpose is to maximize their own profit. This is the definition of market value.

There is generally understood to an inverse relationship between prices and demand (i.e. ticket prices and attendance numbers). Are you arguing that this isn't the case?


engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 12:58 pm
@maxdancona,
In this lawsuit, today, the women are arguing that they have comparable attendance (true), that they are more successful (true) and they are paid significantly less (true).

You argue "ticket prices". Ok, raise the prices. In the global market you want to compare women's sports which are in their infancies to men's sports which have fully developed markets and pipelines. No, they don't compare. Is that due to inherent inferiority as you assert? Not that I can see and I use women's tennis as the example because it is pretty much the only example. Does that mean that the women can beat the men on a level playing field? No. Does that matter in terms of revenue? No, each gender has a devoted fan base in tennis. You cannot say that people are willing to pay significantly more to see the USMNT unless you try to charge the same ticket price for the USWNT.

You say that paying the women on the national team an equal salary to the men would be an expensive experiment. 24 women times $150k -> $3.6 million per year. When the women won the world cup in 2016, the USSL restated their expected revenue upward by close to $20 million. A lot of that came on the backs of the women who went on a celebration tour, the proceeds of which went into the USSL coffers. The failure of the USMNT to qualify for the World Cup in 2018 automatically cost the USSL $8 million, the minimum amount FIFA directs to a participating team. That doesn't count in any future losses caused by lack of enthusiasm for the men's team. (Remember that to qualify, all the US had to do was beat Trinidad and Tobago, loser of eight of its previous nine games.) The women are not only saving the face of US soccer, they are generating enough money to fund their salaries.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 01:17 pm
@engineer,
Not sure how 2019 compares to earlier years, but I just went looking for tickets for the next national team games and the men and women are comparable.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 01:36 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

3) For major soccer events, we know objectively what the true market value of tickets is. These tickets are sold on the open market by resellers whose only purpose is to maximize their own profit. This is the definition of market value.

There is generally understood to an inverse relationship between prices and demand (i.e. ticket prices and attendance numbers). Are you arguing that this isn't the case?

National team soccer games do not sell out, so the resale value on the secondary market does not represent supply and demand. Resellers are not buying tickets at face value and trying to make a profit, they are people who are unable to use the tickets they have and are trying to offload them. At the men's national team's last outing (2/2 vs Costa Rica) the attendance was 13,656. The game before against Panama, attendance was 9,040 in a stadium that seats 63,000 but was more like 7,000. Sad picture of an empty stadium at the link. The women have played three home games this year with attendances of 14,555 (Japan), 22,125 (England) and 14,009 (Brazil).
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 01:49 pm
@engineer,
If the women can consistently generate equivalent revenue as the men over the long term, then I agree with you and women deserve equal salaries. However, in that case I don't think a lawsuit would be necessary.

I don't think the overall facts (other than a few cherry picked exceptions) support the idea that woman can genrate the same market value that men generate. The market price of tickets, the failure of professional women's leagues all suggest that your speculations might be overoptimistic. Men's soccer is a different product from woman's soccer. There is no objective reason to think that they would be valued the same in a fair market other than wishful thinking.

I don't think comparing the US women's recent success means anything. The men are literally playing in a different league.

I think the economic realities argument will prevail in the court of law. That is the only relevant objective fact in this argument
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 01:51 pm
@engineer,
That's irrelevant. It doesn't explain why the market value for men's games, the price consumers are willing to pay, are significantly higher.

The obvious answer is that consumers value men's soccer more.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 02:49 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
That's irrelevant. It doesn't explain why the market value for men's games, the price consumers are willing to pay, are significantly higher.

For games which are not sold out, the price consumers are willing to pay is the face price of the ticket from the box office. That's why it is relevant. The box office determines the price, not the market. In that situation, the value the consumer places on the event is determined by attendance and the men's national team attendance is pretty lackluster.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 03:06 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

If the women can consistently generate equivalent revenue as the men over the long term, then I agree with you and women deserve equal salaries. However, in that case I don't think a lawsuit would be necessary.

Of course it is. Your belief that the USSF will just go ahead and offer the women a salary based on their income potential is not justified IMO.
maxdancona wrote:

I don't think comparing the US women's recent success means anything.

I hear that argument very consistently from men saying women shouldn't play sports. "Serena couldn't even beat a man ranked 100!" (That is a true statement and is about as relevant as saying Mayweather couldn't beat a journeyman heavyweight. Of course no one ever says that about Mayweather for some reason.)
maxdancona wrote:

I think the economic realities argument will prevail in the court of law. That is the only relevant objective fact in this argument

It depends on which "economic realities" are considered. If the argument is the women generate significant revenue, and do similar work (actually more work) for the same employer, I think the women win. If the argument is "there is no where else for the women can play, so they have no alternatives and their skills have no value at all outside of our employ so they should consider themselves lucky we pay them as much as we do and STFU", that will be an interesting case. That is the exact argument used to pay minorities and women less in the 60's and 70's and is the basis for the law the USWNT is suing under. "You are a black man in the South, consider yourself lucky I am willing to hire you and take what you are offered." That is the real argument you are making when you say "I have to pay the men more or they won't play. They have alternatives, you do not." I think if that happens we will end up with a strike in 2021 when the current contract expires which would be a disaster for US soccer. With a pathetic men's team and a women's team dissing US soccer on morning shows and news broadcasts, US soccer would spiral down into irrelevancy.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 06:34 pm
@engineer,
There is one economic reality that matters. Consumers are willing to pay far more to see men's soccer than they are to see woman's soccer. This means that the market value and economic viability of men's soccer is much greater.

Quote:
Your belief that the USSF will just go ahead and offer the women a salary based on their income potential is not justified IMO.


That is exactly what they are doing. The USSF operates based on economic interest. They negotiated a contract with the women based on the economic facts. The economics for women are different than the economic facts for the men, because the market will bear a far greater price for the men's product.

If women could generate enough revenue playing professional soccer, there would be an economically viable professional soccer league for women. There have been a few attempts by people who had every motivation to make them successful. They all failed.

That is why the USSF is offering the women a salary based on their income potential.

Quote:
If the argument is the women generate significant revenue, and do similar work (actually more work) for the same employer, I think the women win.


I think you lose this argument, and I am sure this will come up in court. You are using the term "significant revenue" which can really mean everything. The point is that over the long term, the men generate much more revenue than the women. That is why the men are paid more.

You are asking for the court to impose an artificial price that isn't set by the market.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 06:40 pm
@engineer,
When sports teams were integrated, the market value of African-American players quickly became obvious. In spite of the continuing racism in society, minority players in Basketball, and Baseball, and Football are among the highest paid because their market value is obvious.

LeBronn James doesn't have to go to court to prove his economic value. People are willing to pay hundred or thousands of dollars to see him play. Racism isn't stronger than economic forces... neither is sexism.

If women had true market value to justify equal salaries, they wouldn't have to fight in court for them. They would simply point out that paying them more is in the economic best interest of USSF. That is what the men do when they want more money.

The fact is that consumers aren't willing to pay as much to see woman's soccer. That is the economic reality. A court ruling to set price restrictions is evidence that women don't have the market value and need protection.

0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 07:08 pm
If woman's soccer has enough market value to survive on its own revenue while paying players at the same level as the men and investing in developing future talent, they would do so.

The obvious answer is to split US Soccer and let the men's organization and the women's organization operate with financial independence.

It seems clear to me that the men's team can support this (including developing future players) with their current salaries and revenues. Men's major league soccer isn't that old in the US. The MLS league started in 1996 from scratch. It is profitable even with salaries in the millions. The WPS league for women started just 13 years later. They failed after 3 years.

Woman's professional couldn't survive on their own. There wasn't enough consumer demand for woman's professional soccer. That is the economic reality.


0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 08:12 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

There is one economic reality that matters. Consumers are willing to pay far more to see men's soccer than they are to see woman's soccer.

Is this true for the USMNT? The numbers don't seem to support that.
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Your belief that the USSF will just go ahead and offer the women a salary based on their income potential is not justified IMO.


That is exactly what they are doing. The USSF operates based on economic interest....

That is why the USSF is offering the women a salary based on their income potential.

The USSF is a monopoly and like any corporation is incentivized to pay it's employees the absolute minimum and to do anything in its power to minimize pay and keep it that way. The women in its employ are a captive market. The Equal Pay Act under which the lawsuit is filed says that you cannot pay employees doing the same work differently because of gender. The job descriptions of both teams are the same. That the women are captive to the USSF if they want to pursue soccer in the US and the men are not doesn't matter. You argue that if someone has no alternative then their work is of lower value. That would fit in perfectly in the South in the 60's with regard to black workers and fits in today's environment with latino immigrants.
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
If the argument is the women generate significant revenue, and do similar work (actually more work) for the same employer, I think the women win.


I think you lose this argument, and I am sure this will come up in court. You are using the term "significant revenue" which can really mean everything. The point is that over the long term, the men generate much more revenue than the women. That is why the men are paid more.

You are asking for the court to impose an artificial price that isn't set by the market.

The USSF will have to defend that statement for the men's national team generates much more revenue than the women. I look forward to seeing those numbers, but on the other hand, it might not matter. The law says:
Quote:
No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section [section 206 of title 29 of the United States Code] shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs[,] the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex

Are the employees asked to perform equal work on the job? Yes, they have the same training requirements, hours, promotional requirement and work conditions. Nothing in that work description says anything about bringing in equal revenue, although despite your continued assertions, I can't see where the men's team sells more tickets or sells them at a higher price. How do you read that law to say the men can get 3x the salary of the women, better working conditions, more per diem, etc?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2019 10:11 pm
@engineer,
This case is about economic reality. I feel like I am repeating myself, but you keep trying to make it about something else.

1. Woman's professional soccer failed in the US simply because it wasn't economically feasible. Professional woman's soccer failed on its own (it wasn't the USSF or men's soccer). The market didn't value woman's soccer enough to justify its cost.

2. I am not a lawyer (and you aren't either). We will see how this plays in court. You are missing two clauses in the Equal Pay act that seem important. I don't think these women will win. The non-biased legal experts I have seen suggest that this lawsuit will fail. The argument will be based on the quality and the long term economic performance of the two leagues.

3. The men and women play in completely different leagues. Comparing their relative positions says absolutely nothing about the quality of either team. That is like comparing the top Division 1 NCAA basketball team with the #10 Division 2 team, it isn't a valid comparison.

4. If you can give me actual numbers comparing the revenue generated by men vs women's soccer over a 4 year cycle, then I will be impressed. You are an engineer, you understand that cherry picking data that supports your argument and rejecting other data is invalid.

What matters to economic health of an organization is the economic performance over the long term.

engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2019 07:53 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

This case is about economic reality. I feel like I am repeating myself, but you keep trying to make it about something else.

I understand your point perfectly. It's been made by many people in many industries over time. Discrimination -> Lack of opportunity -> Justification for discrimination. Got it.
maxdancona wrote:

1. Woman's professional soccer failed in the US simply because it wasn't economically feasible.

You want to compare a league (MLS) where the top player is paid $6M in direct compensation and they can draw players from around the world to work full time with a league where the team salary cap is $350K and the average player would qualify for food stamps and call that apples to apples? Again, got it, no need to repeat it. Maybe more appropriately, you can compare women's soccer to the 1967 North American Soccer League, the first attempt to have a pro league for the men in the US. Or not. That league folded in 1985 and it was pretty well funded. Of course some of the women's teams where they get good financial support are actually succeeding despite that (Portland is generally the considered the model), but your point that not all teams are doing that is noted.
maxdancona wrote:

2. I am not a lawyer (and you aren't either). We will see how this plays in court. You are missing two clauses in the Equal Pay act that seem important. I don't think these women will win. The non-biased legal experts I have seen suggest that this lawsuit will fail.

3. The men and women play in completely different leagues. Comparing their relative positions says absolutely nothing about the quality of either team. That is like comparing the top Division 1 NCAA basketball team with the #10 Division 2 team, it isn't a valid comparison.

So legal experts that agree with your position are "non-biased"? The natural corollary is that legal experts who are biased will disagree with you? Thanks for that. Real "non-biased" experts say the case is a complicated confluence of several different labor laws. This link discusses the legal side of the case and talks about the "different leagues" argument.
Quote:
Central to the lawsuit is an evaluation of whether members of the men’s and women’s teams perform substantially the same job. Historically, courts have upheld wage disparities between men and women in sports under assertions that men face greater physical and public pressures than women performing jobs in the same field. But filing the complaint in California may help meet that bar, as a 9th Circuit pay discrimination case brought by former University of Southern California women’s basketball coach Marianne Stanley could provide a favorable precedent for the plaintiffs.

In Stanley’s case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found that the University of Southern California did not violate the Equal Pay Act even though it paid Stanley significantly less than its men’s basketball head coach, George Raveling. The court determined Stanley and Raveling did not perform substantially equal jobs, because the university required more public relations and fundraising activities of Raveling, and the men’s team generated more fan interest and revenue.

But that decision could help the women’s soccer players. Because compared with Stanley’s case, the roles and status between the genders in this case are flipped. In recent years, the U.S. women’s team has outperformed the men’s national team by consistently being ranked No. 1 worldwide and winning the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and gold medals in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. While the women’s team enters this year’s Women’s World Cup as favorites, the U.S. men failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, didn’t advance past the knockout stage in the 2014 World Cup and hasn’t secured an Olympic medal since 1904.

Because of the U.S. women’s national team’s recent success on the pitch, team members have faced increased performance and public relations demands, while enjoying higher viewership ratings. The lawsuit alleges that while members of the men’s and women’s teams are subject to the same training expectations, the women’s team completed 19 more games between 2015 and 2018. Following the team’s 2015 World Cup victory, members engaged in a U.S. stadium tour attracting tens of thousands of fans. According to the lawsuit, the federation’s budget projection was shifted from a combined net loss for both teams of $429,929 to a profit of $17.7 million. The U.S. women’s national team has also outpaced the men’s national team in viewership, as its 2015 Women’s World Cup championship game is the most watched soccer game in American history — for either gender.

maxdancona wrote:

4. If you can give me actual numbers comparing the revenue generated by men vs women's soccer over a 4 year cycle, then I will be impressed.

You would be impressed because the USSF is amazingly secretive with those numbers but US Soccer will have to put up those numbers in court. In 2016 when the women first brought up this issue, they were quick to trot out some of these numbers, this time around not so much, but that might be part of the a conciliation strategy. Late last week the USSF put out a statement and it was completely different in tone from 2016. Maybe this will never see a courtroom.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2019 08:23 am
@engineer,
It seems to me that the fundamental point you are making; Men's soccer and woman's soccer would have equal market value if they had equal chances to develop and market their respective products. You are taking this as a matter of faith, there is no objective reason to believe that this will be true. And in case after case (tennis, basketball, etc. etc.) the evidence has suggest otherwise.

If it turns out to be the case that men's soccer is intrinsically more marketable than women's soccer even after equal time and investment in development, would you then accept that women players would be paid less?

This seems to be a key point.




maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2019 08:33 am
Sports depends very much on the nature of the consumer. What the consumer considers valuable is the key to the organic market value; particularly how much they are willing to pay to see men's vs woman's sports. The gender of the person fixing my computer doesn't matter to how fast they do their job. The gender of an athlete affects their performance both in actual numbers, and in how it is perceived.

Fashion Modelling is the opposite of athletics, women in modelling make 4 to 5 times as much as male models. Modelling (like athletics) is very centered on what the consumer wants to see. It seems unlikely that the market value of men in modelling will ever equal that of women no matter how the consumers are "educated". Economically speaking the women are generating more revenue.

Would you support men in the fashion industry suing for equal wages? How would this work economically.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2019 09:38 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You are taking this as a matter of faith, there is no objective reason to believe that this will be true. And in case after case (tennis, basketball, etc. etc.) the evidence has suggest otherwise.

I look at the performance of women's tennis and the USWNT in soccer and say there is plenty of evidence. Even with all the disadvantages mentioned above, the top women's NWSL team pulls in more average attendance than six of the MLS teams and only 4K less (21.1 to 16.9k/game) than the men's team in the same market. We don't need to go round and round, in the case of the national teams, it will come out in court. (Interesting article on Portland soccer and how the women's team there has succeeded in attracting more fans than "15 N.B.A. teams, 13 N.H.L. teams and one Major League Baseball team". If you want to see what equality could look like, read that article.)
maxdancona wrote:

If it turns out to be the case that men's soccer is intrinsically more marketable than women's soccer even after equal time and investment in development, would you then accept that women players would be paid less?

Sure. Invest worldwide exactly the same for both genders for two generations and see what the results are. That's what we are getting close to for tennis. Women tennis players aren't quite at parity in some parts of the world so maybe it will take three generations, but I'll accept two.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2019 09:54 am
@engineer,
You are finding evidence because you want to find evidence. It is generally easy to raise attendance figures by lowering ticket prices. That doesn't prove anything. The economic reality is that women's soccer can not generate enough market value (what the market is willing to pay) to survive on its own.

The NWSL is subsidized (rather ironically) by USSF. That is why they have the luxury of lowering the ticket prices enough to generate respectable crowds.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2019 10:09 am
@engineer,
I am really curious on your opinion about pay equity for male fashion models.

Should male fashion models be allowed to sue for equal pay?
 

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