The United States’ national women’s soccer team is playing for bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, but the game also has significant financial stakes for the players.
In addition to the cash prizes awarded by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to medal-winning athletes, there is also a predetermined bonus, as stipulated in the collective agreement between the players and the American Football Federation. The collective agreement will expire at the end of 2021.
It is up to each country to decide whether to compensate its athletes and how much to compensate them for bonuses for medals or other Olympic prizes. The International Olympic Committee does not offer any bonuses or prizes, and according to the Olympic Charter, the participation of athletes in the Olympic Games is not subject to any financial compensation.
Here is the breakdown of the money that could be spent on the USWNT by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the American Football Federation medal pool, and a post-Olympic game tour:
1. Bonus money for US Olympic and Paralympic Committee medals
The USOPC has a medal bonus program called Operation Gold. The program pays predetermined amounts of money to athletes who achieve gold, silver and bronze at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The bonuses are the same for all American medalists, regardless of the sport. The USOPC increased the bonus amounts by 50% in 2017:
- Gold: $ 37,500
- Silver: $ 22,500
- Bronze: $ 15,000
Each of the 22 USWNT players would receive $ 15,000 if they beat Australia in the bronze medal match.
2. American Football Federation medal bonus
Each sport governing body in the United States (for football, this is the American Football Federation) can create a separate incentive structure for athletes in addition to the award from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
The United States Women’s National Team has entered into a collective agreement with the American Football Federation which details the awards for the 22 players on the Olympic roster.
In addition to a $ 25,000 bonus for being part of the team, each player also receives the following awards depending on the medal:
- Bronze medal: $ 25,000 per player
- Silver medal: $ 55,500 per player
- Gold medal: $ 100,000 per player
The United States’ 1-0 loss to Canada in the Olympic semi-finals took the team out of the race for gold and silver. He will play for a bronze medal and the $ 25,000 per player bonus on Thursday. The team will not receive any bonus if they fail to finish on the podium.
3. Post-Olympic tour
The CBA also stipulates compensation to players for a four-match post-Olympic tour to be played in the United States. The money players will receive for these games is also dictated by the Olympic finish:
- Gold: $ 300,000 per game ($ 1,200,000 total)
- Silver: $ 250,000 per game ($ 1,000,000 total)
- Bronze: $ 200,000 per game ($ 800,000 total)
It is up to the players to determine how to allocate the money they receive for the post-Olympic tour. If the team does not win a medal in Tokyo, the tour will still take place, but the player’s compensation for the four friendlies will be the regular win / friendly match bonus as described in the CBA ($ 1,750 for a draw, $ 8,500 for a win).
Total Olympic awards for the bronze medal
The simple math shows that a victory in the bronze medal match would guarantee each player in the USWNT $ 101,364, assuming the Olympic tour money is split evenly among the 22 players.
A loss in the bronze medal match would only leave each player the bonus of $ 25,000, a difference of $ 76,364:
- USSF roster bonus: $ 25,000 per player
- USSF Bronze Medal: $ 25,000 per player
- USOPC Bronze Medal: $ 15,000 per player
- USSF Olympic Tour: $ 36,364 (as bronze medalists)
- Total bonus amount: $ 101,364
The bonus money would have more than doubled in the case of a gold medal ($ 217,045) and would have been almost 50% higher in the case of a silver medal ($ 148,094).