A few things on equal pay, when it relates to football (and in this case, American football - I'm certain this is what would drive FSG thinking on starting any women's team).
Revenue generated from last year’s Men’s World Cup (otherwise known as: The World Cup) was just more than 6 Billion (with a “B” and all my currency on this post are U.S. dollars). Revenue from the just completed Women’s World Cup was $130 Million (with an “M”). The prize money therefore, is not going to be equal, because the revenue is far from equal.
Now, for the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Teams, the women’s matches indeed generated more revenue in 2018 (with the men failing to make the World Cup finals). But the difference is telling, because the women’s team here has won the Olympics four times and The World Cup four times, they are folk heroes of a sort – subject of ad campaigns, etc. but their matches earned 50.8 million. At the same time, the men’s team, a bunch of nobodies who most casual sports fans in America couldn’t name a single player of (or maybe one or two – far less than women’s team members) – their matches generated 49.9 million in revenue, playing fewer overall matches – less than 1 million in difference.
Supposedly the USA women did make more including bonuses in 2018 than the men, not sure of the exact numbers there (It seems simple enough that the U.S. Federation would negotiate bargaining agreements with both national teams and base it on revenue earned - including merchandise, sponsorship, etc. – I don’t know what the numbers would end up being with this, but perhaps they would be fairly close – and who could really argue with similar or equal pay for that?) -
The women’s pro league in America, as others on here have noted, has struggled at the ticket window. This is the third or fourth iteration of a national women’s league. A team folded last year and there are nine remaining. Two average more than 10,000 in attendance, but the other 7 all draw fewer than 5,000 per game. In the men’s league, Major League Soccer, the lowest attendance average is for Chicago, at 11K per match. The leading team, Atlanta, draws 70,000 per game and its overall attendance for four games has outdrawn the entire women’s league attendance for the season. So they aren’t getting equal pay for that.
Of course the differences in attendance between men’s and women’s matches in England are far greater, and you also have fairly well attended men’s matches all the way into the 5th and 6th tiers of the English football pyramid. But it is the market that drives the pay for these players, as it does in most industries, including entertainment.
Equal pay for equal work sounds good, but ultimately the real world is about equal pay for equal value (not a subjective definition of value – but value as shown in the evidence). If a place of business is artificially rigging this system to keep a group of people down, all it takes is the public market to rise up and say, “we like the product that X (in this case, women footballers) produces better or an equal amount” and the wage structure will follow the market demand.