Klobuchar Seeks Hearing on Sports Pay Inequity

The difference between the pay for men's and women's soccer players, which was one of the social media, and regular media, off-leads of coverage of the U.S. Women's National Team victory in the Women's World Cup, has generated some heat in D.C. over the broader issue of gender-based sports pay inequity. 

Sports salaries are fueled by the video rights that collectively run into the billions. 

Senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) have called on the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee to hold a hearing on the "significant issue of pay disparity between men's and women's sports."

Related: Fox’s Women’s World Cup Final Draws 14.3M Viewers 

President Trump has suggested that the disparity could simply reflect the difference in revenue generated—something the soccer federation has asserted—but the senators suggested in their letter to Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) that that was misleading. 

"Despite the women team’s extraordinary success, reports have highlighted the fact that U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) players have made only 38% of what players on the USMNT earned in previous years, and recent reports have made clear that disparities still persist. Meanwhile, despite the U.S. Soccer Federation’s assertions that the pay differential is based on difference in aggregate revenue generated by the two teams, the USWNT actually generated $900,000 more in revenue than the USMNT from fiscal year (FY) 2016 to FY 2018, according to an analysis by the Washington Post." 

They also pointed to disparities in golf, basketball, hockey and other sports.  

"Following the USWNT’s latest World Cup victory, a hearing would afford a timely opportunity for the Committee to recognize the importance of protecting and empowering athletes—while also examining the troubling pay disparities that have been highlighted in recent weeks," they said. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.