Instapundit has a link up to a Bablylon Bee piece about the “pay gap” for women’s soccer. One common refrain in the comments is that women’s soccer has a smaller audience because the level of play is lower. Commenter Bob wrote (emphasis mine):
Any D3 college men’s team could whip our women’s World Cup team … and therein lies the problem. Women do NOT play as well as men. They aren’t as fast, or as quick, or as skillful. Sorry ladies, but THIS is why men get paid more. My suggestion to you women soccer players … bring in the trannies. Big burly trannies “identifying” as women playing in the World Cup … hell, even I would pay to see that carnage, and you gals could parade around preaching about how tolerant and diverse you are.
Mt Geoff-Debbie responded in agreement:
Players are paid to attract people to the game rather than to play the game. Players attract people by playing the game in an exciting way and, generally speaking, people enjoy the men’s games more than the women’s games.
On the flip side, I think more of the big money in ice-skating and gymnastics goes to women. Tennis seems to be close to parity. It all depends on how many people the promoters believe will pay for tickets or will tune in to broadcasts.
The second commenter is closer to having it right, but doesn’t probe why we like watching men in some forms of competition and women in others. The reason men’s sports are more popular than women’s sports isn’t simply a matter of level of play. Men and women are different, and compete for status in different ways. These are sexual competitions by their very nature. Watching women compete in ritual team combat doesn’t scratch the same itch it does when men do it. Likewise, beauty pageants for men just aren’t the same. Sports fans won’t ever really be “sex blind” as the common defense of the pay gap asserts they are.