Paper Blames Price Gap in Hoops Tickets on Gender Bias

October 6, 2009

Colleges that play big-time basketball set ticket prices for their men's teams significantly higher than for their women's teams, and the differential seems to be explained at least partially by institutional discrimination, says a new paper published by the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. The paper, a summary of which can be found here, says that the sizable gap in ticket prices charged by colleges in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association occurs even at institutions where the women's teams are highly successful and have big fan followings and "is not accounted for by differences in attendance." The authors of the paper seek to rebut the argument that colleges charge less for events involving women because there is less demand for them. "Because athletics, and particularly college basketball, have an increasingly prominent cultural profile, the practice of effectively de-valuing women on the court has implications off the court as well," they write. "The results support the broader contention that women athletes -- as women in traditionally male arenas -- continue to face institutional discrimination that is camouflaged as sensible economic practice."

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