The U.S. women's national team's games have outearned the men's team's matches over the past three years, according to financial reports from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) obtained by The Wall Street Journal amid a gender discrimination lawsuit.
Between 2016 and 2018, women’s games generated about $50.8 million, compared with $49.9 million for the men, according to the audited statements.
“The event revenue from the [U.S. women's team] demonstrates the potential that can be realized when investment is made,” Becca Roux, executive director of the team's players association, told the Journal.
“While there is still a long way to go, I applaud U.S. Soccer, their partners, and our partners for the new marketing initiatives over the past couple of years," she added. "I hope it serves as a case study and example for other federations around the world to emulate.”
The lawsuit against U.S. Soccer alleges the organization pays male players far more than women, even though the men's team has been less successful. The women's team, for example, has won their first two games of the 2019 World Cup by a combined 16 goals, but the men's team did not qualify for the last tournament.
The women's lawsuit states that male players are paid far more, even when they lose. It says that women would earn $99,000 if they won 20 friendlies, while men would likely earn $263,320 each, according to ESPN, which added that male players would get $100,000 even if they lost all the games
USSF doesn't dispute that the male and female players are paid unequally, but said in a response filed in May that it's because of "different pay structures for performing different work."
It said that any alleged pay differential between the men’s and women’s teams is “based on differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex,” a claim disputed by the figures released Monday.
The USSF did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new revenue figures.