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Women’s World Cup earned more than 2x expected ad revenue

The Women's team hoisting their trophy.
Photo: Naomi Baker - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

In the midst of a bitter fight for equal pay, advertisers bought nearly $100 million in U.S. television commercials during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: In response to pay gaps between USA men's and women's soccer, many argue male teams simply drive more revenue and therefore receive greater pay. The women's TV ad sales are arguably another point in dismissing that logic.

  • According to ad-tracker Kantar, the Women's World Cup brought in approximately $96 million. Earlier estimates had expected $43 million.
  • Fox had also charged more for this year's women's tournament ad slots compared to the 2015 Women's World Cup.

Between the lines: Per the WSJ, "The complex nature of soccer’s business arrangements and differences between the tournaments make it hard to directly compare revenue and player compensation."

  • The men's World Cup drew in $350 million in TV ads in 2018. The men's tournament spanned 64 games, compared to the women's 52.
  • But ad revenue doesn't translate directly into player pay. U.S. Soccer uses revenue from operations including sponsorships and ticket sales to fund players' paychecks.

But, but, but: Ad sales can be indicative of a team's popularity. Per the Journal, the ongoing victory tour for the women's team recently drew 55,000 ticket sales in Philadelphia.

  • And the women's championship game this year averaged more U.S. viewers than the men's last final.

Go deeper: U.S. Soccer sponsor P&G sides with women's team equal pay fight