Skip to content
Use this to run hypotheticals to make women's and men's U.S. national soccer teams' pay equal. Or at least fair.
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
NT calculator full.xlsx


Use this to run hypotheticals to make women's and men's U.S. national soccer teams' pay equal. Or at least fair.

Defining "equal pay" between men's and women's soccer is difficult for these reasons ...

The nature of competitions is different.

  • To qualify for the men's World Cup, the USA must play a four-team, home-and-away round robin (six games) to advance to the "Hexagonal" -- six teams, 10 games, five more in foreign countries. The U.S. women, in the past two cycles, have played five games at home. (When the qualifiers were last overseas, the USA finished third and had to enter a playoff with Italy to make the 2011 Women's World Cup.)

  • The men have continental championships. In odd years, they have the Gold Cup, which isn't much of a prize but draws large crowds to U.S. stadiums. In 2016, the USA also hosted the Copa America Centenario for North and South America, a tournament that padded U.S. Soccer's cash reserves.

  • Without such competitions in women's soccer, U.S. Soccer has tried to fill the gap with the SheBelieves Cup and the Tournament of Nations, each of which bring in top teams from elsewhere for a four-team round robin.

  • The women also play in the Olympics. The men's Olympic competition is limited to players under age 23 plus three "overage" players.

  • The bulk of the women's schedule in most years, though, is composed of friendlies (exhibitions) at home. These generally draw good crowds, though not as big as the Gold Cup and men's World Cup qualifiers, where the stakes are higher.

The pay structure is different -- by mutual consent.

As negotiated by the U.S. women circa 2000 and retained in every agreement since, women's players sought salaries and health benefits because professional women's soccer has been uncertain. (From 2004 to 2008, it didn't exist in the USA, and few European teams paid any substantial wages.) The men do not get these benefits.

Another reason for the different structures: The men are prone to experiment. They may feature 50-55 players in a given year. The women, on the other hand, rely on the drawing power of their stars -- when the WNT visits a city for the first time in a few years, fans expect to see Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe (before that, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, etc.)

FIFA's prize money is heavily weighted toward men.

For the 2019 Women's World Cup (given to the winning country's soccer federation):

  • $4m to the champions (all 4 top places are added to the bonuses for the quarterfinals and before)
  • $2.6m to the runners-up
  • $2m for third place
  • $1.6m for fourth place
  • $1.45m to quarterfinalists (added to previous bonuses)
  • $1m for the round of 16

For the 2018 men's World Cup:

  • $38m to the champions
  • $28m to the runners-up
  • $24m for third place
  • $22m for fourth place
  • $16m to quarterfinalists
  • $12m for the round of 16

Also, Olympic prize money is nonexistent aside from small bonuses paid by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC): $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver, $15,000 for bronze

What this spreadsheet does ...

The idea here is to give users a chance to change the defaults -- drawn from the men's collective bargaining agreement of 2011-18 (numbers rose in 2015; deal is still in effect as of July 5, 2019) and the women's collective bargaining agreement of 2017-21 -- to come up with a deal that seems fair to them.


The master version uses actual results and attendance as the assumed parameters. It also has plausible breakdowns of the number of players on gameday roster for each game -- the more players involved, the more total compensation per team will be. The women's team has a couple of tiers of compensation -- players who are not on salary will receive bonus pay for appearing on a roster.

Future versions will allow users to add more hypothetical scenarios, such as the U.S. winning the World Cup.

The years 2013-18 were chosen for results and attendance to encompass a variety of results. Compensation in the years 2015-18 will be skewed heavily toward the women's team because they won the 2015 Women's World Cup and the men didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup. I went back two more years to include men's bonuses for the 2014 World Cup and their qualification the previous year. Without that, the women could appear to be getting a better deal than they really are -- the idea is to get pay close to equal even in cycles in which the men are relatively successful.

Why I'm doing this

The discussion of "equal pay" has been shy on facts. It has not taken the variables into account.

Nothing in this spreadsheet is meant to imply that the women's team does NOT have a case for better pay, even after negotiating a new deal in 2017. The whole point is to explore paths toward equality.

Enjoy. Please share your results!

You can’t perform that action at this time.