Frequently, the media will focus on organizations such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL, just to name a few. These are all organizations dominated by men, and women have little participation in them. This led to women’s sports and various women’s organizations such as the WNBA, National Women’s Soccer League, and the LPGA. However, this topic has been discussed multiple times throughout the course of our history: the controversial issue of how the WNBA does not make a fraction of what the NBA makes and how the national women’s soccer team for the United States was not paid what they felt like they deserved. Are these claims true, and how should we address them?
In the grand scheme of things, women’s sports are somewhat prevalent. In the Olympics, softball, rhythmic gymnastics, and artistic swimming are all events that are exclusive to women. Granted, there is one event known as Nordic combined, which is a mixture of cross country skiing and ski jumping, which is exclusive to men. There is still inequality between men and women’s sports; however, there has been some progress. During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, and China announced their lineups included more women than men.
Going back to the topic of the WNBA and the United States National Women’s Soccer team, why is there so much debate? One defining trait in the WNBA is its lack of money. Players in the WNBA are paid significantly less than players in the NBA. In 2020, Lebron James earned a salary of about 37 million dollars, while Sue Bird only made $215,000. The reason this comparison is related is due to the fact that their careers are similar. Many have claimed that this was gender disparity and that women were deliberately not getting paid what they deserved. However, another reason for this was the income of the WNBA. The WNBA’s revenue in 2021 was about 60 million dollars; however, the NBA’s revenue in 2021 was over 7 billion dollars. The difference between these two is the popularity. The reality is most people would rather go to an NBA game than a WNBA game. One way this could be solved is through more advertisement. Making the WNBA more appealing to basketball fans could increase the revenue and, thus, give more money to the players. The NBA does support the WNBA financially, providing the organization about 12 million dollars per year.
In conclusion, it comes down to how popular the sport is. Take video games, for example; ten years ago, no one would believe you if you told them it would be considered an Olympic sport that would make over 100 billion dollars by 2024. For women’s sports to gain this, you must first gain the attention and admiration of the fans.