The women of the United States National Team celebrated another accomplishment alongside their 2019 World Cup trophy, with their victory in the final grabbing ratings in America 20 percent higher than the finale of the men’s tournament in 2018, according to CBS News.
For followers of soccer in the United States, these results shouldn’t be a massive surprise. The American women have been a force in the sport since the inaugural tournament in 1991, where the United States picked up their first of four World Cups. The men’s team, on the other hand, is an underdog on the international stage, having made the quarterfinals of the tournament only once in the modern era.
The 2018 edition of the tournament was particularly disappointing for American fans, as the men didn’t even qualify. While the team had qualified for the previous seven tournaments, this particular elimination was compounded by a loss to Trinidad and Tobago, a far cry from a world power. Without a team to follow, World Cup ratings were somewhat underwhelming in response.
Overall, host network Fox Sports revealed that the 2019 tournament had 1 percent higher ratings than the 2015 edition, which was played in Canada and had kickoff times much more ideal for American viewers. Ratings are also up 19 percent from the 2011 tournament.
Ratings show that the US-Netherlands match averaged a 10 household rating and a 27 share, meaning that 27% of all the TVs in use at the time were tuned to Fox for the match. https://t.co/f9M6qUfm4d
— CNN (@CNN) July 9, 2019
These impressive ratings have played a role in the United States Women’s National Team’s ongoing lawsuit against their federation, which accuses U.S. Soccer of gender discrimination in regards to the pay gap that exists between the men and women’s teams. According to a report by CBS News, the lawsuit that was filed on International Women’s Day alleges that the federation provides less pay for the same work requirements and will be looking for damages and back pay in response.
In a statement released after their victory over the Dutch, team spokeswoman Molly Levinson said, “These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women. It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all.”
The United States Soccer Federation had maintained that the existence of the pay gap is related to the lower revenue produced and ratings in matches played by the women. However, the CBS News report reveals the financial reports by the federation show that since the women’s victory in the 2015 World Cup, they have produced revenue at a higher rate than the men for the following three years.