Players in this year’s World Cup might be diverse when it comes to nationality, but there is something all the soccer players have in common: Each and every one is male. At Wimbledon, however, male and female tennis players are given equal screen time and equal pay.
Indeed, tennis is the only sport where female athletes can hope to be paid anything close to what the men get:
Only three women appear on Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid athletes—including both endorsements and pay—and all of them are tennis players. The same number of male tennis stars is on the list, so it’s not as if tennis is simply a more lucrative sport. Though all three men’s players are higher on the list than the women, top female players can make serious cash by winning at tennis. Serena Williams amassed $11 million in tournament winnings over the year to June, well over the $6.2 million Tiger Woods earned from prizes in golf.
Golf is actually an interesting comparison, because it’s the only other sport where the top-100 women earn a salary that allows them to be full-time professional athletes. Even so, the male/female earnings discrepancy is far greater in golf than in tennis. This is the gap in earnings between the most successful men and women golfers:
The golf gap is big, but it’s still much smaller than in other sports. Earlier this year, BuzzFeed compiled a list of the 52 National Basketball Association stars whose salaries, without endorsements, are larger than the total pay given to all professional women basketball players in the WNBA. In Major League Soccer (MLS), the American men’s league, players regularly earn annual salaries in the six figures, as the official salary list (pdf) shows. Meanwhile, the National Women’s Soccer League in the US pays its players salaries ranging from $6,000 to $30,000.