U.S. Women Win World Cup, Ratings; Lose Out with Huge Pay Gap

By Dash Davidson 06 Jul, 2015

On Sunday night, the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup in what Nielsen says was the most-watched soccer game in U.S. ratings history.

Nielsen estimates 25.4 million viewers watched the U.S. women beat Japan, the defending champion, in a 5-2 victory that helped dull the blow from their defeat to Japan in the 2011 finals. It’s the first time Americans have lifted the World Cup trophy since 1999.

For their win, FIFA awarded the U.S. Women’s National Team the winner’s share from the World Cup tournament: $2 million. That’s no small change—until you consider FIFA’s payout to the winning German men's national team following last year’s World Cup in Brazil: $35 million.

What’s more, men’s teams who don’t make it past the group stage (meaning they lost in the first round of the tournament) earn more than women’s World Cup champion–four times more.

The pay discrepancy exists in player salaries as well. Christiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, the highest paid male player, will earn $52.2 million this year. His female counterpart, Marta Vieira of Brazil, will earn just $500,000—a mere 1 percent. The highest paid women’s soccer player in the U.S. is Alex Morgan, who will earn $450,000 this year.

You can explore the numbers in the interactive viz below:

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