The Sports Economist provides an interesting analyis of a new report by writers from the Wellesley Centers for Women, which focuses on the differences in the price of men and women’s college athletic tickets. Here’s part of the report’s abstract:
Tickets to college sports-and men’s and women’s Division I college basketball in particular-may appear on the surface no different than tickets members of the public may buy to attend professional sporting events. But unlike professional franchises, colleges are non-profit organizations and, in many cases, public institutions. Decisions around ticket prices do not reflect an actual marketplace, but internal calculations and decisions that necessarily reflect a value placed on the event by the institution. This distinction is critical because previous research shows that lower-priced events are perceived as lower quality and less worth watching or attending. Our review of ticket prices for men’s and women’s Division I college basketball for the 2008-2009 season considered entry fees charged by 292 institutions at various seating levels, including season ticket packages and single game tickets. Our results showed significant gender gaps at every pricing and seating level with colleges charging a premium for male play. This gap persisted even among teams identified by the NCAA as top-ranked women’s teams with large fan followings. Analysis of attendance figures further showed that the gender differential in price across schools is not accounted for by differences in attendance.
I haven’t read the full report (you have to pay to access it) but it would surprise me if attendance and the demand for tickets didn’t play a little bit of a role in the college’s determination about how much to charge. As The Sports Economist notes:
Why would those in athletic departments be willing to “leave money on the table” to feed their sexist attitudes? They note themselves that top-ranked programs tend to charge less for women’s games than men’s games. If fans are willing and able to pay the premium, why aren’t they charged the premium?
Indeed it is hard to imagine that colleges in particular, with their armies of gender political correctness police, would succumb to such counterproductive sexsim. I feel like there is often hand-wringing over the failure of female sports teams to attract the same viewership or to earn the same salaries as men. But is this really shocking? I’d be surprised if women gymnasts and figure skaters didn’t make more in endorsements than men do. And though I’m sure it’s an example that gives old school feminists no pleasure, I bet women models generally make more than men.
Many of the more radical feminists you find in academia dream of a world where what sex you are doesn’t matter at all. Until their dreams come true there are going to be differences in men and women’s preferences that affect many things… including the price of sports tickets.