The World Cup is a global event, where the number one sport in the world, soccer, hosts an event once every four years for international teams to get the chance to win the World Cup trophy for their country. For men, the World Cup leader is Brazil with five out of 22 world cups. For the Women’s World Cup, the leader as of now is the American team, winning four out of nine world cups. The Men’s World Cup was in 2022, and the women’s was in 2023. Now that they’re both done, we can compare and contrast the two to see how far the Men’s and Women’s World Cups have improved.
First off, the Men’s World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world, surpassing any other sport, and racking up 1.5 billion live views of the 2022 final between Argentina and France. To put that statistic into perspective, the 2022 Super Bowl between the LA Rams and Cincinnati Bengals (which is the number one watched sport in the US) racked up about 150 million live views, including inside the USA and internationally. In attendance, roughly 89,000 people showed up to root for their teams in the final between France and Argentina. Once a team wins the World Cup, they get a certain earning, and just recently Argentina earned $42 million to be divided between each player. To compare that to the Women’s World Cup winners, Spain who earned $10 million this year, more than the $4 million earned in 2019, which is an improvement but still needs to be raised more so it can level with the men’s team.
The Women’s World Cup first started in 1991 (United States won this first one), 61 years after the men’s first started (in 1930, champions Uruguay) making it a bit younger of a competition. Even though the Men’s World Cup has always been more popular and creating more money than the women’s, over time, the women’s World Cup has started to grow bigger and bigger, gaining more viewers and generating more money. There was a big issue about how the men’s USA team gets better pay than the women’s, even though the men’s team has never won a World Cup while the women’s team is the best in the world. Over time the pay gap has been slowly closing between the two teams.
I interviewed some SBHS students who watched the World Cups and got their perspective on the two events. The first person is Anthony Montes, who is a senior at SBHS and is on the soccer team. When I asked him if he watched the two World Cups, he said, “yes, I watched both, I watched most of the games for the Men’s World Cup and for the women’s I mainly just watched the knockout stages.” In another interview with another senior on the soccer team named Pollo Torres, I asked him the same question and he said, “I watched some games in the men’s group stage and all the play off games, but for the women I only watched one or two group stage games and just the semi finals, third place game, and finals.” After this I asked both Anthony and Pollo: Why did you watch more men’s games and what would the next women’s World Cup need for you to watch more of it? Anthony said, “I would just like for it to be hyped up more so I can watch it with more people.” As for Pollo “[he] would consider watching more matches if the games were a little more intense to watch, like how the men’s games are, and the hype level needs to be way higher as well.”
The World Cup events have been growing bigger and bigger each time, and with the next Men’s World Cup in 2026 here in North America, we expect big things as well as the Women’s World Cup in 2027 where we can hope to see more similar amounts of pay in the future. Although the location of the women’s World Cup is currently unknown, there is a United States-Mexico joint bid, South Africa, Brazil and a Belgium-Germany-Netherlands joint bid all in the running.
2022 Qatar World Cup ball [Image Credit: Ramsey Royan]