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Why are USWNT and USMNT sharing World Cup prize money?

A fan holds up a sign in support of the USWNT's fight for equal pay at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. (Ira L. Black/Getty Images)

The farther the U.S. men’s national team advances in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the more the both the men’s and women’s teams will reap the rewards.

Under the historic collective bargaining agreements both squads signed earlier this year, the USMNT and the USWNT agreed to share their World Cup prize money. Just Women’s Sports breaks down how it works.

Why are the national teams sharing prize money?

The two teams opted to pool their World Cup bonuses and split them evenly as part of the new CBAs, which close the pay gap between the men’s and women’s teams.

The men’s World Cup features a much larger prize pot than the women’s World Cup. For example, the 2018 men’s tournament had a total purse of $400 million, compared to the 2019 women’s tournament and its purse of $30 million.

“My ideal vision is for FIFA to equalize not only the World Cup prize money, but to equalize their investment in the women’s and girls’ game,” U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone told Just Women’s Sports in 2021. “But until FIFA equalizes it, it’s up to us.

“And by us, I mean U.S. Soccer, the women’s team and the men’s team coming together to find a solution.”

Because both the USWNT and USMNT qualified for their respective World Cups in this cycle, both teams will split the prize money they take home from the tournament.

The national federation also benefits. U.S. Soccer will take a 10% cut of the prize money from the 2022 and 2023 tournaments. That number will increase to 20% for the next tournaments in 2026 and 2027.

For USMNT center back Walker Zimmerman, the act of sitting down with the USWNT to discuss their respective CBAs played a big role in helping him to see why the teams needed to share their earnings.

“I would say that’s when the reality hit,” he told The Athletic. “Like, ‘Yeah, this is what we need to do, this is what has to happen to grow the game beyond just the men’s team and the women’s team, but to grow it at the grassroots level.’

“I think that’s kind of what sold it at the end of the day, is that this is what’s right and that this is an opportunity to do what no other national team has done.”

How much could the USWNT make from the men’s World Cup?

In advancing to the knockout stage, the USMNT guaranteed a payout of at least $13 million. After factoring in the 10% given to the federation, that leaves $11.7 million – or $5.85 million per team.

That number would increase if the USMNT advances. A quarterfinal berth would garner $17 million; fourth place, $25 million; third place, $27 million; and second place, $30 million.

If, by some miracle of soccer, the USMNT were to win the World Cup, they would earn $42 million. With 10% of that going to the federation, $37.8 million would then be split between the two national teams, meaning an $18.9 million payday for each team.

How much could the USMNT make from the women’s World Cup?

While the purse for the 2023 tournament has not yet been announced, the 2019 World Cup had a total purse of $30 million. That number was double the $15 million awarded in 2015.

In total, the USWNT won $4 million for its World Cup win in 2019 – up from $2 million in 2015.

If the prize money stayed the same, the USMNT and USWNT would each stand to make $1.8 million from the women’s team winning a fifth World Cup, with the remaining 10% awarded to the federation.