Poll: Equal Pay for Women’s Soccer; Women’s Tennis has More Followers than Men’s Tennis; More Men Follow Women’s Golf than Women.

In a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted nationally last week, 83 percent of Americans said the women’s national soccer team should receive pay equal to the men’s team.

As has been reported, the U.S. women’s soccer team (winners of three World Cups and four Olympic Gold Medals) has sued the U.S. Soccer Federation over equal pay and comparable working conditions with the U.S. men’s team, who have not won any World Cups or Gold Medals. After being made aware of this, and then asked to choose a statement that comes closest to their view, 70 percent of the respondents said women should get equal pay to men in professional sports; 13 percent said women should get equal pay in soccer because of their greater success and seven percent said women should not get equal pay to men in professional sports. Ten percent had no opinion.

“The movement for equal pay for equal work for women coupled with the incredible success of the women’s soccer team has clearly resonated. The court of public opinion has spoken loud and clear. Give them equal pay!” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business.

Of course there was a gender breakdown, with 91 percent of women agreeing there should be equal pay for the women’s soccer team, compared to 74 percent of men. As a general principle covering professional sports played by both sexes, 79 percent of women thought there should be equal pay, while 59 percent of men agreed.

Fifty-eight percent did not know of the women’s soccer success compared to men’s, while only 44 percent said they did know. Divided by the sex of the respondents, 59 percent of women and 53 percent of men did not know of the women’s soccer success.

The poll was conducted last week on landlines and cellphones among 606 adult Americans, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.

The poll also asked which sports played by each of the sexes people follow at all. Women’s tennis is followed by more Americans than men’s tennis and soccer is followed evenly for the men’s and women’s version of the game; otherwise, the men’s sports really dominate.

“America’s Serena Williams is arguably the greatest women’s player ever, and there are no American men currently dominating,” noted Gentile. “This is a poll of Americans, so that is probably a strong reason. Soccer speaks for itself based on the success of the women’s team.”

The Percent of People Following Each Men’s and Women’s Sport at All

College Basketball 29 40
Tennis 25 18
Soccer 23 24
Professional Basketball 18 41
Golf 13 24
Ice Hockey 9 26

Men Follow Women’s Sports More than Women Do

The poll also looked at what sports men and women follow among six women’s sports. The most noticeable differences were that men were more interested in women’s sports than women, with the extreme being the WNBA, where it is 2-1.

The Percent of Men vs. Women that Follow These Sports at All

College Basketball 35 23
Tennis 26 23
Soccer 26 20
Professional Basketball (WNBA) 24 12
Golf 17 10
Ice Hockey 12 6


The interest, however, is more balanced with regard to the Olympics.  Eight percent of Americans say they play closer attention to men’s events, nine percent to the women’s and 54 percent about the same.  And their interest follows their gender. Thirteen percent of men and 3 percent of women follow the men’s events and 3 percent of men and 15 percent of women pay more attention to the women’s events.

And unlike most of the other sports mentioned, more women (at 75 percent) than men (at 66 percent) will be watching the Olympics.

“The fact that women are more interested in Olympic women’s sports clearly owes itself to the heightened interest shown in television viewing during the Games, of which they are a greater part,” noted Gentile. “It leads one to think that if women had greater exposure to women’s sports, their interest would rise.”

The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing this topic with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can be found at https://itunes.apple.com/mt/podcast/seton-hall-sports-poll/id1053266467.


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall has been showing the world what great minds can do since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall embraces students of all religions and prepares them to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, it has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth and an impressive 110-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have received more than 30 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors, including Boren Awards, Pickering Fellowships, Udall Scholarships and a Rhodes Scholarship. The University is also proud to be the third most diverse national Catholic university in the nation.

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For more information, visit www.shu.edu.

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone March 18-20 among adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones.  The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.Recently chosen for inclusion in iPoll by Cornell’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, its findings have been published everywhere from USA Today, ESPN, The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters to Fox News and most points in between.

Media: Media: Marty Appel, AppelPR@gmail.com;
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall
michael.ricciardelli@shu.edu, 908-447-3034

The results:

I’m going to read a list of women’s sports, please tell me if you follow them at all:

Total         Male     Female

  1. Professional basketball

1 – Yes                                                         18%      24%        11%

2 – No                                                           82         76              89

  1. College basketball

1 – Yes                                                          29         35              23
2 – No                                                          71         65              7

  1. Tennis

1 – Yes                                                          25         26              23

2 – No                                                          75         73              77

  1. Golf

1 – Yes                                                          13         17              10

2 – No                                                            87         82              90

  1. Soccer

1 – Yes                                                          23         26              20

2 – No                                                           77         74              80

  1. Ice Hockey

1 – Yes                                                          9          12              6

2 – No                                                          91         88              94

Now I’m going to read a list of men’s sports, please tell me if you follow them at all:

  1. Professional basketball

1 – Yes                                                         41         49              32

2 – No                                                          59         51              68

  1. College basketball

1 – Yes                                                         40         49              32
2 – No                                                          60         51              68

  1. Tennis

1 – Yes                                                          18         23              13
2 – No                                                           82         76              87

  1. Golf

1 – Yes                                                          24         28              19
2 – No                                                           76         71              81

  1. Soccer

1 – Yes                                                          24         27              21
2 – No                                                          76         73              79

  1. Ice Hockey

1 – Yes                                                          26         32              22
2 – No                                                           74         68              79

  1. The U.S. women’s soccer team has won 3 World Cups and 4 Olympic Gold Medals. The men’s team has won no World Cups or Olympic Gold Medals. Were you aware of how much more successful in international competition the women’s team has been than the men?

1 – Yes                                                          44         47              41
2 – No                                                           58         53              59

  1. The U.S. women’s soccer team is suing the U.S. Soccer Federation over equal pay and comparable working conditions with the U.S. men’s team. Which comes closest to your view:

1 – Women should get equal pay to men in professional sports                         70 59 79
2 – Women should get equal pay in soccer because of their greater success  13 15 12
3 – Women should not get equal pay to men in professional sports                    7 11   3

4 – Don’t know/No opinion                                                                                            10 15 16

  1. In regard to watching the Olympic Games do you pay closer attention to the men’s events, the women’s events, about the same or do you not watch the Olympics?

1 – Men’s events                                            8         13              3

2 – Women’s events                                      9         3              15

3 – About the same                                    54         51             57

4 – I don’t watch the Olympics                  28         32            24

  1. How closely would you say you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

1 – Very closely                                           15         21              9

2 – Closely                                                   28         29              28

3 – Not closely                                             33         31             36

4 – Not at all                                                24         20              27


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