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‘Parity’

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Seeing an Instagram post about ‘parity’ ... related to women’s wrestling.  I’d like to start a thread that covers this topic ... but schmucks need not post here.  Wondering if we can have a reasoned discussion.

Adeline Gray talks about ‘parity’ going beyond equal pay.  It goes to equal opportunity, value for the hard work and effort, and knowing she is on a playing field that will respect and honor the hard work she is putting in.

All reasonable desires.  

What I’m about to write is not PC.  But I’d like to get a conversation going.  A reasonable one with the spirit of friendly and respectful debate.  I’m going to focus on the pay part as that is the most concrete and it serves as a proxy for the desired ‘value’ and ‘respect’ being sought.

.....

Generally, it is often reasonable to consider pay to be proportionate to the value you create.  I would like wrestler stars to be paid what Basketball stars get paid.  They work very hard. But, they are not paid this way.
 

Perhaps the typical Artist should make what a surgeon makes. They study hard, work hard, and have unique skills.  Yet the pay is not the same.  

 

If a female football league started, perhaps TV stations should pay them for TV rights what the NFL is paid.  But I’m pretty sure they would not be.

Shouldn’t equal pay flow from equal value created.  Shouldn’t that be the first step ... create and show strong value is being created?

Or .... do we as a society need to assume that the value will come.  That in order to create that value, there should be subsidies paid to foster inclusion and diversity.  Just because women’s wrestling has not existed in a mainstream way until recently, doesn’t mean that it can’t be as equally entertaining and value generating as men’s wrestling ... we just need to support it in the short term to help it grow membership, improve the ‘product’ and give it a solid chance to gain traction with the viewing audience.  Thus,  by asking mainstream media and organizations that support wrestling to provide incentives it is an ask of them to think long term and promote the continued growth of the sport with the sincere belief that it will benefit them and the sport’s membership and fan base as a whole in the long run.

Or .. is there fundamental moral importance to pay ‘parity’ between the sexes in the sport of wrestling that should be highlighted?

Curious to hear thoughts.

 

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That’s where I’m at, let the market decide. I always feel like everything, whether we’re talking about selling a car or TV contracts, the value of something is whatever we will pay for it. I think trying to place value on something is the wrong way to go about it. What it comes down to is what do we value most?  The familiarity/name recognition?  The level of competition?  The production?  Obviously everyone has their own personal list and order of priorities. And if people pay more for product A than product B, the people who put on product A deserve more pay than the people who put on product B. Product B people may have worked just as hard with just as much determination, maybe even more so, but that’s how it works out. That’s free market. I thing it gets a slippery slope when you start placing value. As well as people getting compensated the same regardless of how much “value” they bring in. 

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In order to build a sustainable foundation, in the society this world (not just the USofA), value added must be understood as money made.

A station most definitely should not pay a startup league, regardless of genders or sports, what the pinacle deserves and the pinacle shouldn't be minimized to making less because others have a less prefered product.

Prefered does not equal enjoyment here.  Prefered equals viewership.  Companies want the advertisements of their products to be viewed by the largest market(s) possible.  That means the most eyes willing to purchase said product.

The product needs to be fun to watch.  This means most people participating need to deserve the title they're given of 'professional' or whatnot. If I am watching a match/game and am thinking the whole time that I can do better without training, then I'll likely not watch much more, or watch it again.  Repeated viewership is required for success.

It also needs to be physically sustainable.  This means havinga foundation to contribute to future numbers and strars of the sport.

An example I will use as absolute common sense so we all here can understand it:

Should Jordan Burroughs, Kamal Bey, and Adeline Gray all be paid the same exact if they each headline a separate 'Flo' card? 

If you answer yes to that question, then you do not want our sport to succeed, let alone survive.

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1 hour ago, nhs67 said:

Should Jordan Burroughs, Kamal Bey, and Adeline Gray all be paid the same exact if they each headline a separate 'Flo' card? 

If you answer yes to that question, then you do not want our sport to succeed, let alone survive.

I don’t know if I’d go that far. 

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When it comes to stipends or prize money paid by USA Wrestling, I think they should be the same. But when it comes to the types of PPV events we've been having, whether it is dual meet style or tournament, then there is no other way to go than what the market demands in terms of opportunity and pay. You can't force Flo to hold a card with a women's headliner match and pay to match that of JB/Taylor (whatever that amount may be). It just wouldn't be financially feasible. I am glad they are getting women's matches on some of these cards, which will help with exposure and may lead to more interest. All that said, if all of the wrestlers want to start a union to demand equal pay and opportunity for these types of matches, that would be their right. But you won't see the top names willing to take a hit to their bank accounts to force that kind of move. There is just not enough money in wrestling to go around like that.

Edited by Crotalus

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5 minutes ago, Mphillips said:

@nhs67 ,  How so? You used it as your, 'example for dummies.'

We're talking specifically about the formation of a league, or at least I was.  It was in reference towards building towards a sustainable league product.

Edited by nhs67

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Glad to see the rationale and reasoned discussion.  
 

I do agree that the Olympic incentives paid to athletes for medals should be consistent.  And I do agree, in large part, about allowing the market to decide.   But as one poster alluded to above, wrestling as a whole benefits from subsidies.   I also very much appreciate being exposed to women’s wrestling.  I’m becoming a fan. Very much looking forward to Gray vs Mensah-Stock above all other bouts on the card outside of Taylor/Burroughs.

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7 hours ago, Crotalus said:

When it comes to stipends or prize money paid by USA Wrestling, I think they should be the same. But when it comes to the types of PPV events we've been having, whether it is dual meet style or tournament, then there is no other way to go than what the market demands in terms of opportunity and pay. You can't force Flo to hold a card with a women's headliner match and pay to match that of JB/Taylor (whatever that amount may be). It just wouldn't be financially feasible. I am glad they are getting women's matches on some of these cards, which will help with exposure and may lead to more interest. All that said, if all of the wrestlers want to start a union to demand equal pay and opportunity for these types of matches, that would be their right. But you won't see the top names willing to take a hit to their bank accounts to force that kind of move. There is just not enough money in wrestling to go around like that.

Isn’t that allegedly what happened leading up to the July card?  The women turned it down because they said the pay was too low for the risk.  I have to assume Flo has increased what they’re paying since.

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16 hours ago, sisi said:

If you left all of wrestling in the USA to the market, you would hardly have any competitors from the USA. 

 

Sure you would—it’s called amateur athletics.  I never played a sport for money, but I have paid to play sports my whole life. 

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Agree with those who say pay should be equal for prize money/stipends and market-based for PPV events.  I also think USAW should consider subsidizing women's wrestling at RTCs to account for the fact that there is less demand for them to train with NCAA athletes.  

 

With that said though, I think it's important for organizations like Flo to invest in and market women's wrestling.  It's necessary for the survival of the sport long term, and I think it's a long term good financial decision for them.  There wasn't a market for women's MMA until UFC invested in it and promoted it-and then Ronda Rousey became the second biggest star in the sport behind Brock Lesnar (she is still prob  about #4 all time).  Likewise, I think flo could build/market the top women's athletes-they could drive storylines that lead to fan interest.  This could add new fans who may not have been interested in wrestling otherwise. As a fan, while I prefer men's wrestling, women's matches are way better than those weird submission wrestling crossover matches they were pushing for a while, and I think it's awesome that they are now supporting the women.  

 

Long term, the growth of women's NCAA wrestling is a huge net positive for the survival of men's NCAA wrestling.  The same is true for women's olympic style wrestling.

Edited by Billyhoyle

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The "market" argument is specious.  If you only market men's events, guess what, that's all people will view.  If you only offer crappy rewards/prizes to men, that's who will pursue the prizes in the greatest numbers.  When I coached in college, I was constantly told by the AD (also the head basketball coach) that he needed the gym for home games on specific dates at specific times because he was a "revenue" sport; all I ever got were crappy times/dates to host home events.  Funny, but the "market" was self-fulfilling--what was offered on the best dates with the best promotion and support mysteriously made the most money.  And we actually did pretty well bringing in money with no promotion (beyond what my staff and I did--nothing from the Sports Information Department), no support (the local newspaper did half page pre-game write-ups for basketball and glorious post game write-ups but I was told we'd be lucky to get any post-match coverage, even a dual box score), and no financing (we found outside sponsors to fund our tournament).  I only wonder what we could have done with a little cooperation from the powers that be.

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19 hours ago, Coach_J said:

The "market" argument is specious.  If you only market men's events, guess what, that's all people will view.  If you only offer crappy rewards/prizes to men, that's who will pursue the prizes in the greatest numbers.  When I coached in college, I was constantly told by the AD (also the head basketball coach) that he needed the gym for home games on specific dates at specific times because he was a "revenue" sport; all I ever got were crappy times/dates to host home events.  Funny, but the "market" was self-fulfilling--what was offered on the best dates with the best promotion and support mysteriously made the most money.  And we actually did pretty well bringing in money with no promotion (beyond what my staff and I did--nothing from the Sports Information Department), no support (the local newspaper did half page pre-game write-ups for basketball and glorious post game write-ups but I was told we'd be lucky to get any post-match coverage, even a dual box score), and no financing (we found outside sponsors to fund our tournament).  I only wonder what we could have done with a little cooperation from the powers that be.

So in theory, with extensive "marketing" the WNBA could out draw the NBA? Is that where you're going?

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I believe Coach_J is saying that sometimes when you invest time, energy and marketing effort to expose the ‘product’ ... demand appears and you can build on that.  
 

But if you don’t invest and keep the product somewhat unexposed, it is a lot harder to find an audience.  
 

All fair.  The market argument still applies in my mind but like most things, you need to find an investor to help promote it early on and take the risk that the investment will pay off.  I think many on here are saying that taking that risk seems like a good idea.

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53 minutes ago, headache said:

So in theory, with extensive "marketing" the WNBA could out draw the NBA? Is that where you're going?

Great, you've listed an example of a sport where male athletes are significantly more popular.  Others include football, baseball, and hockey-the sports with professional leagues with huge built up brands.  

Sports where women are more or equally as popular in the united states as the male counterparts:  Tennis, Figure Skating, volleyball, swimming, Soccer, gymnastics.  All of those women's sports are more popular than men's wrestling (except volleyball, which I know nothing about but probably gets more olympic air time). 

If you want an example that's most similar to wrestling, why don't we just use MMA? In MMA, the women fighters sell a significant number of PPVs, and Ronda Rousey was as big of a star as anybody other than Conor and Lesnar. If women's wrestling is supported through marketing by outlets like flo and financially by USAW, it could prove to be a great way to draw new fans to the sport.

Edited by Billyhoyle

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1 hour ago, headache said:

So in theory, with extensive "marketing" the WNBA could out draw the NBA? Is that where you're going?

Not at all.  Look at soccer.  The US put a ton of money into the men's program when we hosted the World Cup back in the day and tried to manufacture role models out of a team that, in essence, was entirely mediocre (anyone remember Alexi Lalas?).  Who did people actually want to watch?  The women (who, by the way, are actually excellent and, unlike the men, have actually earned international results).  Who still gets more money and promotional support even though they essentially suck?  The example of the WNBA proves that you can't force something down people's throats; they skipped the steps of building a grassroots foundation and tried to skip "go" and failed.  Little girls are playing soccer like none other and it is in part to the patient approach of the the soccer community.  Put it this way: would you rather watch women's beach volleyball or men's? Wouldn't take a marketing genius to answer that one.  And their international federation gives men and women equal prize money (the women are basically subsidizing the men at this point). The idea that the "market" always determines what is best is a fantasy.  Back in the day, you could buy records by Pat Boone and not find a single one by Little Richard--you really want to argue that the "market" allowed an talent-deprived copycat like Pat Boone to dwarf the sales of a genius like Little Richard, whose music Boone ripped off with impunity?  So many more elements come into play than just the self-fulfilling prophecy of the "market."

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I absolutely think it is market driven.  I get a kick out of it when people only take a small slice of a huge issue and argue it to make a point versus looking at the whole picture.  You can't start slicing and dicing the topic into tiny little segments in order to make a point that meets whatever narrative you want.  Bottom line is that across the board the market drives the $$'s and the dollars go to what the market wants to pay for.  It is almost as if some of you think there is this handful of people that sit around and wring their hands together and say "Let's see...who should we pay more...hmmm?  Oh yeah, let's just pay men more because we like them better."  Sounds pretty ridiculous doesn't it?!?!  And spare me the 70 years ago crap when our nation was extremely sexist...I agree it was, but you have got to be kidding me if you think we still are at that level...anyone in power would be strung up by their you know what if they were even thinking things like that now.  Anyway, the money will got where the demand and interest is based on the quality of the product...and who determines the quality of the product...yep...the customer.  You can't talk all you want about marketing dollars and how big of a production one puts on, but if the quality of the sport isn't what the customer wants to see then the customer will seek it out.  I liked how someone used gymnastics as an example, which I think is a great one, the women's gymnastic product is far superior to the men's, hence, they get paid significantly more.  Same with the volleyball, sure you can say the federation pays both men and women the same (which by the way, isn't that supposed to be a good thing??), but who do you think is making SIGNIFICANTLY more money overall...yes the women!  As for soccer, the women's national team may be "better" than the men's, but again, looking at the overall picture, where does the market truly pay the most for...professional MEN's soccer, that product is far superior (not my opinion, but based on the voice of the customer).  

Anyway, do I "want" it to be "fair", ABSOLUTELY!!  But what is truly fair is for the market to be open to all, opportunities to engage in the market to be equal, and then let the customer's decide where they are willing to pay for the quality they want to see/purchase.  I would pay WAY more to watch women's gymnastics over men's, but on the flip side I would pay WAY more to watch the NFL versus the lingerie league (can't believe I just said that...LOL).  I think a lot of people forget that fair doesn't mean equal.  And for those who want to twist words, when I say equal, I am NOT talking about equality in terms of how we treat and view everyone on God's great earth.

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