The Women’s World Cup prize money has reached $152 million, four times higher than in 2019, but less than the men’s Qatar World Cup’s $440 million.
- The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Women’s World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, will begin in mid-July and end in mid-August.
- Thirty-two women’s soccer teams from around the world will compete to win their portion of the $152 million combined prize.
- Of that total, $110 million will go toward prize money, and the rest will be dedicated to other team funds during the tournament. By contrast, the Qatar World Cup, where men’s soccer teams competed, had a $440 million total package.
- Due to the events being held in Australia and New Zealand, the time difference will make viewing more difficult for European fans. As a result, fewer broadcasters have bought the rights to show the tournament games, meaning the women’s event will bring in less revenue.
- This is the same issue FIFA officials faced in 2018 and 2019 when the men’s tournament brought in $3 billion in broadcast revenue while the women’s event the next year earned $300 million.
Why it’s news
The pay discrepancy between the men’s and women’s FIFA World Cup has been wrought with controversy for decades. In 2019, the issue jumped to the forefront of sports fans’ attention. During the 2018 men’s World Cup, the prize pool was $400 million compared to the women’s $30 million.
Initially, the discrepancy was explained by showing the difference in total revenue each team brings in. A Forbes report showed that the men’s World cup brought in $6 billion in revenue. However, the FIFA financial information is evidently so murky that not even FIFA officials can provide a clear answer as to how much less in revenue the women’s tournament generated.
“As many rights for FIFA competitions are sold to commercial affiliates as a package, specific commercial revenues for the FIFA Women’s World Cup cannot be distinguished from the overall commercial revenue from FIFA competitions,” a FIFA spokesman says.
While determining the actual revenue from the 2019 women’s World Cup is next to impossible, FIFA was able to estimate that more than 1 billion fans watched the 2019 tournament. In comparison, an estimated 3.5 billion watched the 2018 men’s event.
While the actual revenue generated by each tournament may be difficult to determine, more viewers mean that advertisers are eager to buy air time during the broadcasting of the event. For broadcasters and advertisers, more viewership equals more money.
This year’s World Cup is struggling to bring in broadcasting revenue as FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he refuses to sell broadcasting rights at the rates companies are currently bidding.
“Women deserve much, much more than that, and we are there to fight for them and with them,” he says.
Due to the time difference between New Zealand, Australia, and Europe, viewership may be lower than in years past, making broadcasters less excited to show the games.
During the Qatar World Cup last year, FIFA says it engaged 5 billion fans through social media or through viewership. During the final match alone, it says 1.5 billion viewers watched.
Though the data is still unclear when determining how much revenue the men’s and women’s teams bring in, viewership of this year’s women’s tournament may give greater insight into how much potential revenue the women’s games earn FIFA.