Are male professional athletes overpaid?
By Katie Dewberry
Do you schedule your Sunday around a women’s soccer game? No, you schedule it around the Cowboys vs. Redskins game. Let’s be honest. Sports media has recently become so male-dominated that the audience for woman sports has continuously shrinking. According to feminist sociologist Michael Messner at USC, “women’s professional teams have nearly evaporated and a deepening silence has enveloped women’s professional soccer, basketball, golf, field hockey, and softball.” Unfortunately this is a problem that will probably never change
Professional athletes are like performers and entertainers. People love to watch them play their sport so much that they pay to do so. Unfortunately, not enough people are watching women’s sports and the industries’ status is lowering. “Is there little coverage of women’s professional sports because they’re unpopular or are they unpopular because there is little coverage?” asked an anonymous poster on the MPR News website. This question has two equal sides, however; I am going to have to go with the first one: there is little coverage of women’s professional sports because they’re unpopular.
Unfortunately I discovered that it is not about gender when it comes to professional sports, it’s business and money. Currently there are too many greedy business partners that won’t give the women’s sports industry time to grow and want their money growth now and not in ten years. If the sports world was more patient, over time women’s sports would be capable of gaining a larger audience and the industry would expand significantly. It is sad to see women that are working so hard not feel appreciated, but that is just how it is. Accusations towards women have been made such as “female athletes are slower, weaker, by and large less skilled, and therefore less interesting and exciting to watch,” and “given the option to watch the best or second best, people will watch the best regardless of the sport… I’m not saying men are better per se. Women are as good or better at many things, but sports is not one of them,” stated a commenter on the MPR website.
Not only are women’s sports less popular, female atheletes are also making significantly less money than male athletes. Arguably the biggest concern in sports right now however, is on the salaries of male professional athletes. My interest was sparked while listening to a radio discuss the highest paid celebrity couples. I was surprised when I found out that Tom Brady and his supermodel wife were coming in as #1 this year. With a combined annual salary of $76 million, apparently Brady’s supermodel wife is on the way to becoming the world’s first billionaire supermodel. In my opinion, they are definitely overpaid. As a person who doesn’t swear by Sunday football games, I was very surprised that a star football quarterback is making $31 million a year. The highest paid female professional athlete, Maria Sharapova, has been in this position for the past seven years and at the peak of her career is making $21 million a year. The female tennis stars dominate as the highest-paid professional athletes by securing seven out of the top ten spots. In total, the ten highest paid female athletes made $113 million this past year, where the top ten men combined to $449 million. This huge salary difference is not subject to change anytime soon because America has become accustomed to supporting men’s sports more than women’s. This issue has been drawn to my attention because more and more professional athletes that are men are being put in the spotlight and social media has been solely portraying their achievements. Eventually, women are going to need to be recognized or who knows what will happen to women’s sports.