Equal play but not equal pay

Jesus Cano, @Juice_Cano

The best player in the NBA and the best player in the WNBA should make the same amount of money, but it’s never going to happen.

It certainly is disappointing to see the constant gender wage gap translate into sports, but honestly it isn’t surprising. It is a very easy business model. The more consumers, the more money is in a business.

LeBron James is arguably the greatest basketball player to ever live, and he has the salary to reflect it. During the offseason he found a new home, signing with the Los Angeles Lakers for four years, a contract worth $154 million. This deal makes him one of the highest paid players in NBA history. And that is just his playing salary.

Meanwhile, the 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart only made $54,000 last season. Six figure salaries is the limit for these female athletes, as their max out salary is $110,000. And most of the players have to play overseas at the end of the season in order to keep on making money. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry and James Harden get to chill at home during the offseason.

But it’s a simple business model, the more money a company produces, the more there is to be handed to the players. It’s basic economics.

The average WNBA attendance is 7,768 people, meanwhile the Golden State Warriors filled up Oracle Arena every game last season, averaging 19,596 fans.

But what happens when two different genders are under the same branch? Enter the United States Women’s National Soccer Team. They have won three World Cups, most recently coming first in the 2015 one hosted in Canada. If you ask me, that’s a really good dynasty. And then there is the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, who got to participate in the 2018 World Cup just like I did, by sitting on their couch and enjoying it on TV. They have never won a World Cup.

The men’s and women’s teams during their World Cup stints made different money, and to much surprise in the sports world, the women made money when they won the World Cup. Alex Morgan and her squad brought in $6.6 million in profit, while the men only brought $2 million. Who was getting the fatter paycheck though? That’s right, the men.

In instances like this, that is absolute blasphemy that the women are winning gold but making coal compared to the men who just earn a pat on the back.

What can be done? Honestly nothing, people are always going to invest in the men more than the women. The NHL, MLB and NBA will always be juggernaut companies. The only solution possible is to attend these games. Buy a ticket.

However, finding a full professional women’s team in the Bay Area is hard, as there are no WNBA teams. The last pro team came from soccer was FC Gold Pride out of Santa Clara. They folded in 2010.

The gender pay gap will always be around in sports, and it’s a damn shame pay will never be at an equal level.