My Facebook friends have been signing petitions demanding that women soccer players be paid as much as men (apparently they didn’t realize that FIFA executives are more likely to be persuaded by briefcases full of cash). A variety of articles (example) point out that men generate more spectators and therefore more revenue, so therefore Econ 101 says that the men should be paid more.
Why does Econ 101 apply here, though? FIFA seems to be an unregulated monopoly. Various other monopolies, such as Major League Baseball, have moved money from the most profitable teams to teams in smaller media markets. The goal, as I understand it, was to make the season more competitive. But given that market economics are not applicable, what would be wrong with FIFA moving money from uber-profitable men’s teams and giving the money to women’s teams?
Separately, could it be the case that simply paying women a lot more would increase the number of spectators? A lot of sports figures are celebrities partly because they are rich and do things that mostly rich people do and that the public gets excited about. If female soccer players get a 5X boost in pay, for example, they might show up in the media a lot more often and then people would want to go the the stadium or turn on the TV to watch them play.
What do readers think? Would be it be fair or unfair for FIFA to insist that male and female soccer players, on average, are paid the same?