With the United States Women’s National Soccer Team winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup they are set to receive bonus money like any other championship team. But unlike the men’s team, the USWNT will receive a two million dollar bonus for their win on Sunday, which is $33 million dollars less than the bonus the German Men’s Soccer Team received when they won the 2014 FIFA World Cup and $6 million dollars less in bonus money than the United States Men’s National Team received in 2014 when they were knocked out in the first round by Argentina.
There should be no difference in the bonus amount winning teams make; except there is a difference. To chalk it up simply, women’s sports are not as popular as men’s sports in any category. A large reason why there is less interest in women’s sports is due to the lack of coverage of women’s sporting events and female athletes.
In 2009 as part of a 20-year study of network and cable TV, USC and Purdue sociologists found that 96 percent of sports coverage belongs to men’s sports. The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was the most watched soccer game in US history with 26.7 million viewers which just barely nudged out the 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cup match which had 26.5 million viewers.
Although that record seems substantial for women’s sports, there are several factors driving it. Soccer itself has never been a big crowd pleaser in the US, but ratings are known to spike during the World Cup. Baseball has experienced a steady decline since 2001 and NASCAR has endured the same. Also, there weren’t many sports viewing options to choose from last weekend which helped boost the audience for Sunday’s match.
Although the match received record highs in viewership, there’s a general “eh” feeling when discussing women’s sports because people think women’s sports are boring. People have their own reasons why they don’t tune into women’s sports including lack of coverage, not enough well-known superstars and the belief that female athletes just aren’t good enough. There aren’t any statistics comparing the viewership between men’s sports and women’s sports simply because there’s almost nothing to compare. Men’s sports dominate the airwaves at a whopping 96 percent leaving just 4 percent of airtime for ladies.
No matter the reason, it’s enough to make TV channels not even bother to play them. If the channels aren’t making money then the sports leagues aren’t as well which contributes to the wage gap cycle in women’s professional sports.
(featured image via SB Nation)
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