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Expand chart
Source: U.S. Soccer via Wall Street Journal; Chart: Axios Visuals

In the three years after they won the 2015 World Cup, the U.S. women's national team generated more game revenue ($50.8 million) than the U.S. men's national team ($49.9 million), according to audited financial reports acquired by the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The women's team's ability to match, and even exceed, the men's team in game revenue (which is made up of mostly ticket sales) is a key factor in their ongoing gender-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

  • Last month, U.S. Soccer responded to the suit by emphasizing that any alleged pay differential is "based on differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex."
  • But the above chart clearly shows that while men's games used to bring in far more money, the women's team has closed the gap in recent years.

Between the lines: Games are, of course, not the only way our national teams generate revenue. There's also sponsorship deals and broadcast rights.

Yes, but: As WSJ points out, "U.S. Soccer sells broadcast rights and sponsorships as a bundle, not separately for each national team. That makes it difficult to parse the value that broadcasters or brands see in the men's team versus the women's team."

The bottom line: Why is this so hard? Give the men and the women the same base salary and then allow them to earn bonuses based on ticket and merchandise sales and anything else that can be tracked.

Go deeper: Meet the U.S. women's national soccer team

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.