How the USMNT's Qatar run has benefited the USWNT more than ever

The USMNT had a big day on Tuesday, beating Iran 1-0 to advance to the Round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar. It was also a big day for the USWNT. Their World Cup may not kick off until 2023, but they're finally being paid like the world-class athletes they are.

Making it to the knockout round of the World Cup guarantees the USMNT a prize of at least $13 million. And since World Cup payouts are being split down the middle between the USMNT and USWNT due to the landmark equal pay agreement struck between the USWNT Players Association and the U.S. Soccer Federation earlier this year, each team is now guaranteed to receive $6.5 million.

That's the biggest World Cup payout the USWNT has ever received. For some context, $6.5 million is more than the prize money they got from winning the 2015 and 2019 World Cups combined. (They earned $2 million for winning in 2015 and $4 million for winning in 2019.) The USWNT are finally being paid the same as their male counterparts, which shows the USSF values their talent, effort, and play just as much as the men.

The agreement, which was reached in May alongside the USMNT's collective bargaining agreement, was the result of years of hard work and litigation. The USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the USSF in 2019 saying they were paid less than their male counterparts despite being more successful on the field. (For example, the USWNT won their last World Cup, while the USMNT didn't even qualify.) The suit strained relations between the increasingly popular USWNT and the USSF, but was settled in Feb. 2022 for $24 million. That paved the way for the CBA just a few months later.

A payout of $6.5 million each is great, but it could get even bigger. If the USMNT defeats the Netherlands on Saturday, the prize money increases $8.5 million per team.