USWNT lawsuit against USSF for getting paid less than USMNT

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Jazzy Altidore, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not saying that they shouldn't support a professional game in the United States per-se. I'm merely pointing out that they are under no obligation to do so. They're under no obligation to do so for the Men either. But they've gotten their money back and more over the years, whereas I'm not sure the WNT, particularly as their costs rise, will ever pay them back in the same way.

    At that point, we get to the question of: what's the most efficient way to spend limited resources? If the goal is to promote soccer in the United States, and the ratio of investment-to-revenue-impact is higher for one team or the other, then it would be in the USSF's interests put more of their money in that team. Because a rising tide lifts all boats.

    But, if the goal is to make the National Teams as competitive as possible, then perhaps they'd spend their money differently, or handle the teams differently.

    And if the goal of the USSF is to promote a professional soccer environment, then perhaps there's a different allocation.

    For example, the NBA funds the WNBA. The WNBA has never turned a single cent in profit, after 22 years. The NBA keeps the WNBA afloat for reasons that escape me, but likely because they figure that they're generating goodwill by continuing to support them. And at least initially, they had success, before the novelty wore off.

    I don't know if the NWSL will ever become a self-sufficient league. And, contrary to what the WNT probably wants, the USSF will, and should, decrease its subsidizing of the NWSL as it becomes profitable. As it has done with MLS.
     
  2. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    I think you guys, I and Dave are talking a bit at cross purposes. In addition to the legal question about whether the case will succeed, there's also the moral issue of what the Fed should do even if the law doesn't make them do it. That's the issue Dave was raising at one point and the one I was addressing.
     
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  3. SUDano

    SUDano Member+

    Jan 18, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    I think I got that and wanted to drill down on those points. What moral issues should the Fed address in this situation.
    I base all morality on fairness and think it would be incredibly unfair to pay one sex more based on that sex. Either way.
     
    RalleeMonkey and Jazzy Altidore repped this.
  4. Jazzy Altidore

    Jazzy Altidore Member+

    Sep 2, 2009
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #204 Jazzy Altidore, Mar 13, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
    Dave is conflating lots of issues, but he's certainly taking positions on the law as well as the fundamental tenets of non-profits. Both are wrong.
     
  5. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    For the sake of argument, say that the most important goal of the USSF was youth soccer participation (it isn't for bigsoccer, but it may well be for the country as a whole). To get more girls playing soccer, it helps for them to have role models including women who play soccer professionally. A women's league would not survive based on just commercial interests, so the USSF subsidizes it to the level necessary that women could have a reasonably paying career doing this, with a particular emphasis on USWNT members as they are the most public. This could easily result in the total compensation to the USWNT exceeding that to the USMNT.

    I don't think there's a demand for women to get more money per game for equivalent revenue. And the USSF already subsidizes other types of soccer (e.g. beach) and so we seem OK with payments not being directly connected to revenue.
     
  6. SUDano

    SUDano Member+

    Jan 18, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Good Points. I do think that's what they are doing now. Not necessarily out of pure morality or pure capitalism but as a hybrid of fairness and marketing. The stated goal for USSF is to promote the many facets of soccer in the US for all. Not just women, Not just men. Not just the revenue producing sides. Men AND Women make money for the Fed. Just not the same amounts. It can be argued that more money needs to be spent on men's and boys development to maintain advantage in a far more competitive environment.
    I think the USSF will just show revenue vs money spent on women and claim that they are in fact highly subsidizing and supporting the women's game despite the revenue they are receiving are not coming from them. If the women kept their argument in this type of realm I would be more supportive. I may not agree totally but its more palatable. I hate to admit the obvious but money drives this organization. Where is the revenue coming from. Is it fair that men's participation in Concacaf and FIFA that drive the higher revenue that they get a higher percentage of those payments.
     
  7. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    USSF does not subsidize other types of soccer (e.g beach) by paying them professionally. But if we apply the standard suggested, then the USSF should be doing so.

    I don't think that sport promotion requires a professional league. This is because professional leagues are prohibitively costly. They require the financial backing of private entities. If you do not have the funding or the fanbase, you will end up wasting money trying to create something that cannot exist independently.

    The question becomes: if you gamble that you can create a league that stands on its own after 30 years, and then it doesn't, wouldn't you have been better served trying to promote the sport at the youth levels in order to get the fanbase available to support the sport professionally?
     
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  8. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Probably, although right now it's not obvious to me what the right way is to promote the game.
     
  9. lmorin

    lmorin Member+

    Mar 29, 2000
    New Hampshire
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, not when you factor in the knowledge that a women's league is unlikely to ever generate sufficient attendance at the right ticket prices to pay for itself. Does not and has not worked for any other women's sport, to my knowledge, with the possible exception of roller derby.
     
  10. soccermilitant

    soccermilitant Member+

    Jan 14, 2009
    St.paul
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    whats funny how woman's sports needs rich men to subsides and loose millions for there leagues. Rich Feminist woman , like sheryl sandberg, don't seem to want to help there sisters and buy (adnd lose millions) on a woman pro team.
     
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  11. tbonepat11

    tbonepat11 Member+

    Jun 21, 2001
    Sadly this is all about politics and seizing on the current climate on gender issues. They will settle outside of court to save face most likely.

    This should always be based on the free market and market value of the product. A QB is worth $160 million because someone is willing to pay him $160 million. If the USWNT pulled in more ad revenue than the men, they would be getting paid more.

    The WNBA never sues....if they did, they would be mocked endlessly.
     
  12. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    While I agree about the lack of merit of this case (assuming that the women don't bring as much revenue as the men), US sports are far from a free market.

    Lebron James is worth way more to a team than what he's receiving as his comp is being held down by non-market-based mechanisms.

    WRT US soccer, players are not free to join any team they would like - although, unlike in almost all other sports, there are viable international alternatives for such players if they have the right passport and connections.
     
  13. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    ...hence why you promote the sport at the youth levels instead? Basically, there isn't a single sustainable Women's league here. There are other Women's sports leagues, including soccer, which I assume are sustainable, in other parts of the world.

    If USSF promotes Women's soccer at the youth/collegiate level, maybe eventually a fanbase is built that helps entice private investment for a professional league. And if it isn't, then no harm no foul, because the core mission of the USSF was still accomplished.
     
  14. NGV

    NGV Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Of course there are various regulations and FIFIA sanctioning that have an impact - but the point I was making was about the narrower question of whether it makes any sense at all to talk about a "market value" for soccer players.

    For club soccer it does make sense. Players from Cristiano Ronaldo to Freddy Adu can earn compensation based on how much one of innumerable possible employers values their likely contribution. But for national team play, there's only one employer, so there's no market, and the idea of "market value" doesn't apply in any meaningful way.
     
  15. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh, that's where you're wrong.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidberri/2018/09/04/what-wnba-players-want/#173b9ae533eb

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/grands...basketball/yes-the-wnba-wage-gap-is-real/amp/

    Every single year the WNBA complains that they aren't paid enough. They use the same arguments that the WNT are using.

    Here's a good video on it, including a bunch of revenue numbers, which are mostly not readily available. If you don't want to watch, the salient point is the WNBA players recieve a higher percentage of revenues compared to the NBA, but their revenues are trash.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...BMAl6BAgCEDQ&usg=AOvVaw0VTJzWxrN8ZFOD4xbU2nov
     
  16. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    ...Except the fact that WNT salaries ARE tied to revenues. The WNT is a team funded by the USSF. There are a handful of club players abroad, and a few of those make enough money via club payments and endorsements to live without the USSF. But the vast majority of the team is paid to play in a domestic league funded by USSF.

    The USSF doesn't have to pay the MNT like that because they make their living as professional soccer players outside of the USSF.
     
  17. NGV

    NGV Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Again, this doesn't make any sense. With only one employer there is no market, and no such thing as market value. I'm not sure why this simple concept seems to elude people.

    Think about the big question - how valuable is it to US Soccer overall to have a women's national team that successfully participates in competitions that attract American mainstream media attention? Although I don't personally follow the women's game much, I think it's clear that there's a significant benefit there, given the low profile of national team soccer other than the World Cup. Without the women's team, we might currently be going eight years (!) without any high- profile US participation in national team competitions. That would be bad.

    So, exactly how valuable is that contribution, in a long-term sense? I have no idea, although I'd say it's certainly more than can be captured by immediate ad and ticket revenue for WNT competitions.

    But regardless of how high or low that value might be, there's no way for the WNT players to claim any share of it via "free market" methods, because there's only one possible buyer for their services. The only leverage they have is via PR campaigns, lawsuits, and the threat of work stoppages - so, here we are.
     
  18. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You keep saying it doesn't make sense, then talk about value. The WNT needs to be kept around because... value? Stop talking about the free market, but it's unfair that the WNT is run somewhat like the free market?

    The WNT is free not to show up for tournaments or events. The USA could field a team of college players instead. They are free not to sign a CBA TWO YEARS AGO, and simply stop playing soccer in the US. If they can get a job elsewhere (hint, it'll probably pay worse than playing on the WNT), then they can go ahead.

    If the USSF split into independent sides, this complaint goes away entirely.
     
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  19. NGV

    NGV Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Yes, I explicitly noted in my post that work stoppages were one of the few ways that the WNT players could have leverage - just like baseball players in the reserve clause era could simply choose to stop playing professional baseball if they were unhappy with their salary offer.

    This is clearly not the same as being able to claim one's "market value" in a competitive free market system.
     
  20. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Except baseball players have never made the argument that they needed to be paid better because there was a moral imperative to play baseball in the USA at a professional level, and that there was no free market of baseball leagues to play in.

    People who are reliant on Section 8 government housing can't claim that there's no free market for housing just because they can't afford to move somewhere else. There is a free market for housing, it just doesn't cost 10 dollars/month for an SF penthouse. It costs 4,000 dollars a month for an SF broom closet.

    In the same way, the WNT can't claim that there's "not really a free market for soccer" just because they choose to exist in the USSF and NWSL. And if the argument is that the WNT needs to exist because of "value", then it's difficult to eschew the traditional measurement of value: money.

    It's like saying "I'm getting money from charity, but it's not enough, so there's no free market for work". The reality is, there's a free market, but nobody wants to pay you for the work you want to do, so you can only go to a select few employers.
     
  21. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

    Sep 7, 1999
    That would be one hell of a risk. As long as players like Ohai,Mace,Hinkle and Huerta are contractually exempt from the team our best players are not playing. Going on strike only to be replaced with a better quality player is not a great tactic.
     
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  22. soccermilitant

    soccermilitant Member+

    Jan 14, 2009
    St.paul
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    actually there would be many mainstream news outlets would be very sympathetic to them
     
  23. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    Raleigh
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    1. The Fed being a non profit does NOT mean it can ignore the balance sheet. It DOES mean its purpose isn’t to enhance shareholder value.
    2. Here would be a fun question to ask the women...if we increase your compensation by $5M per year, which parts of the budget would you cut to make up for that? I predict much hemming and hawing and handwaving.
    But there isn’t a free market, because of zoning laws. There’s a reason nobody looks at SF real estate prices and decided to make it look like Manhattan.

    I don’t write this just to nitpick, but to illustrate the broader point that we all have to account for when theory meets the real world.
     
  24. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The fact that there are rules and regulations governing housing does not mean that the market for housing doesn't operate like that of a free market, e.g supply and demand.

    If I took your nitpick to the extreme, anything that has any form of oversight is not a free market. Which we would rightfully dismiss as ludicrous.

    FIFA sets some rules regarding players representing their national team. But just because FIFA does that, and the WNT wants to get paid more to play in its own subsidized league, doesn't mean that there is no "free market" surrounding soccer, or women's soccer.
     
  25. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    Raleigh
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Zoning laws literally interfere with supply and demand. Well, supply.

    One reason Texas has such great population growth is because it’s cities tend to have relatively few zoning laws which makes housing cheaper.
     

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