• Blog: Women’s Soccer and Return on Investment

    by Emily Attwood July 2015

    In the days after the U.S. Women’s soccer team’s World Cup win, we’ve heard a lot of back and forth over the issue of how much the players were paid. The women’s team received a record-setting $2 million for their win… record-setting for women, that is. Last year, the German men’s team earned $35 million for its World Cup win.

    “But it’s all about the revenue!” claim those who justify the discrepancy. The women’s tournament brought in a mere $17 million in sponsorship revenue compared to $529 million for last year’s men’s World Cup. Thus, because the men bring in more revenue, it only makes sense that they get paid more.


    When I was in college, I interned for an editor at a book publishing company. I recall, among the editor’s many tales of the publishing world, the story of how he signed one particular new author and set her up for success. Her work was good, he said, but she was relatively unknown and still new.

    For those more familiar with coaching contracts than book contracts, book contracts typically pay an advance, anything as low as a couple thousand dollars (J.K. Rowling was given a £1500 advance on the first Harry Potter book) to upwards of $100,000, if you’re an established name. If a new author doesn't go over well with the audience, the publisher hasn't lost much. If they're good, the publisher simply ups the advance on the next book.

    Rather than offering this new author something at the lower end of the spectrum as would befit the situation, the editor swung big. I don’t recall the exact dollar amount, but I think it was at least $20,000 (chump change for a pro athlete, but a big deal for a struggling writer).

    His reasoning? The more the publisher invested in an author, the harder it would work to ensure her success, giving her a preferred launch date, better marketing and visibility. Part of this was about recouping the investment — book advances are paid against royalties, which means a larger advance needs to be offset by greater book sales if the publisher wants to come out ahead.  

    What does this have to do with soccer?

    I’m not in the sports marketing business. I’m not even in the book marketing business. But I do know that a product’s success is as much about the effort that goes into marketing it as the quality of the product itself. 

    Don’t justify lower pay for female athletes by pointing to the lower revenue they generate — they’re not the ones negotiating sponsorship contracts or selling commercial slots. In the case of women’s soccer, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke attributes the lower revenues to women’s soccer being a newer sport than men’s.

    “We played the [20th] men’s World Cup in 2014, when we are now playing the seventh women’s World Cup,” Valcke said in December press conference. “We have still another [13] World Cups before potentially women should receive the same amount as men. The men waited until 2014 to receive as much money as they received.”

    Or, how about this: Pay the players what they’re worth, and then put in the effort to back that investment up.

  • U.S. Softball Team Hopes Success Will Sway IOC

    by Maggie Hendricks, @maggiehendricks, USA TODAY Sports July 2015

    Heading to the Pan Am Games, starting Friday in Toronto, U.S. softball players and coaches have twin goals: winning the tournament and continuing to make a good impression on the International Olympic Committee.

  • HS Banner Sponsorship Scam Might Have Long History

    by Melhor Marie Leonor July 2015

    Lee County Public Schools alerted the public that an ad circulating south Lee County was probably a scam June 18 - but by then, local Realtor Judi Gietzen and at least two other local business owners already had paid for a banner they thought would support their local high school and maybe attract some business.

  • Buffalo Bills Ticket Prices Soar on Secondary Market

    by Gene Warner, News Staff Reporter June 2015

    After selling a franchise record of more than 57,500 season tickets for this season, the team has no individual game tickets available in the lower and upper bowls for their first seven regular-season games.

  • Opinion: Lady Vols Deserve Their Own Identity

    by Mark Wiedmer, Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee) June 2015

    "I was shocked." That was former Tennessee Lady Vols and Bradley Central High School basketball player Brittany Jackson's reaction when she first heard her school was dropping the "Lady" from all UT athletic teams save women's hoops, beginning this Wednesday.

  • At U. of Arizona, Fundraising is Difficult Assignment

    by Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star June 2015

    The UA athletic department is advertising two fundraising jobs. Here's the job description: "Identify, cultivate, solicit and steward major donor prospects with the following annual goals: 225 in-person visits and a 95 percent renewal of current Wildcat Club members. Manage a donor book of 400-500 prospects and a portfolio of 25-50 prospects."

  • Big Sales Expected as UT Switches to Nike Swoosh

    by Patrick Brown, Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee) June 2015

    After 17 months of anticipation, mystery and a little bit of controversy, the circled date almost has arrived. July 1, 2015. When the clock strikes midnight Tuesday night, Tennessee officially will become a Nike school.

  • Paterno Legacy Rehab to Include Premium Beer Line

    by Debra Erdley June 2015

    Jay Paterno likes to think his dad would grin if he could see what the Paterno family is brewing up this Father's Day, as Penn State fans regroup around the late coach's legacy.

  • 'Caucasian Heritage Night' Cancelled; Team Official Resigns

    by Vincent Penoa The Salt Lake Tribune June 2015

    Caucasian Heritage Night" in Orem came and went in the span of a couple of hours Friday, apparently taking the director of communications for Orem Owlz with it.

  • Former Players Urge UT to Keep 'Lady Vols'

    by Dan Fleser June 2015

    Candace Parker and several other women's and men's basketball alums convened at Smokey Mountain Athletics, a Maryville facility being renovated by former Lady Vols Cait McMahan and Alexis Hornbuckle. The event served as an open house for the public to see the place and mingle with the athletes.