The U.S. Women's Team Earned Less For Its Win Than Any Men's Team In The 2014 World Cup
You probably already know that the U.S. women's national soccer team won its third Women's World Cup in a 5-2 finish over Japan on Sunday. What you might not know is that World Cup winners — men's and women's teams — earn money from FIFA, the now-notorious governing body that organizes professional soccer tournaments. So exactly how much is a World Cup win worth? Well, for the women's tournament, it's not worth very much. For its big win Sunday, the U.S. women's team earned less than any team in the 2014 Men's World Cup walked away with.
The U.S. women's team earned $2 million for its win in the 2015 Women's World Cup final. Making $2 million in a matter of weeks doesn't sound so bad — until you put it in perspective. In 2014, Germany took home $35 million for its win in the Men's World Cup final. In the same tournament, the U.S. men's team took home $9 million... for losing in the round of 16. In fact, all teams in the tournament that year were guaranteed at least $8 million in prize money. Teams like Iran, Bosnia, and Honduras, which were eliminated in the group stage, bagged $8 million each.
In all, FIFA set aside a grand total of $576 million for the most recent Men's World Cup winnings. This year, the organization set aside just $15 million for Women's World Cup winnings. FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke suggested that the difference has to do with revenue, calling the comparison between men's and women's winnings "nonsense" in a press conference in December.
This year's women's purse pales in comparison to all Men's World Cup purses in recent history. In 2010, FIFA gave out $420 million in prize money at the Men's World Cup; in 2006, it gave out $266 million. To get close to the women's $15 million, you'd have to look all the way back at the 1982 Men's World Cup. But even then, FIFA gave out $20 million in prize money, according to Statista.
In reality, this is just one example of what some consider ongoing favoritism on the part of FIFA. During the women's tournament, opposing teams often shared the same hotel, which U.S. coach Jill Ellis said caused some seriously awkward situations.
German women's coach Silvia Nied also complained about the arrangements.
So how does FIFA handle this situation during men's tournaments? Grant Wahl, an American sports journalist, confirmed on Twitter that the men's teams stay at different hotels during their World Cups. Wahl also tweeted about FIFA's questionable choice for presenting the gold medals:
The USWNT may be No. 1 on the field, but for now, they'll have to settle for No. 2 — or worse — in FIFA's heart. Hopefully by the time the next Women's World Cup comes around, there will be more revenue and more reward money for female footballers.