All of us came to Sports Fans Coalition from different backgrounds and with different perspectives and opinions. However, we shared one belief — that America’s sports fans can accomplish amazing things when unified behind a common cause. Over the years, SFC overturned the FCC’s sports blackout rule; successfully championed robust consumer protections for sports betting at the state level; helped to provide name, image, and likeness rights to college athletes; and joined with other stakeholders to enact dozens of laws protecting fans’ right to resell tickets. Today, that unified voice turns to equal pay for women athletes.
The fight for equal pay for women athletes began in 2015, with star soccer goalie, Hope Solo, leading the Olympic gold-medalist U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) by suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF). Solo’s suit alleged that USSF violated the Equal Pay Act, and while her case remains the only equal pay suit remaining in court, USWNT players still earn a fraction of their male counterpart’s earnings.
"I began the fight for equal pay in 2015. For most of that, it has been a lonely crusade. However, the introduction of the Equal Pay for Team USA Act proves that this movement has powerful allies," said Hope Solo, World Cup winner, Olympic Gold Medalist, former Goalkeeper for the US Women's National Team, and Sports Fans Coalition Board Member. "Words cannot express my gratitude for Chairwoman Cantwell and Senator Capito's leadership on such a critical bill for generations of athletes. I look forward to working with them to make this bill law."
However, USSF refused to listen to their players, World Cup winners, and gold medalists. Instead, they defended inequality for another generation of women athletes. Five years later, economic gender inequality persists in soccer and other sports. If sports leagues will not act in the best interest of their athletes, fans must do what we do best: make some noise.
Today, Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA), together with Senator Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV), stood up for women athletes and reintroduced the Equal Pay for Team USA Act. This landmark legislation represents a paradigm shift for gender equality in athletics and if enacted, would usher in a new era for American competitiveness in global sport.
Sports Fans Coalition remains committed to standing up for fans wherever public policy impacts the games we love. Following the last World Cup victory for the USWNT, the fans’ voice could not be more clear: “it is time for equal pay.” Sports fans and the athletes they cheer for will no longer be ignored by a system that insists on inequality. SFC is committed to enacting the Equal Pay for Team USA Act.