“When I see how small the demand for women’s football photos is, it becomes quite clear how high the importance [of increased visibility] is, and Wolfsburg is even very successful internationally,” said Hübner in an interview with IMAGO. In short, the team has won the DFB Pokal seven years in a row and has taken home two Champions League titles. According to Transfermarkt.de — one of the largest sports information portals in Germany which only recently started to show female stats — after Obderdorf who is valued at €250K, Dominique Janssen is ranked second and valued at €200K, Alexandra Popp fourth at €175K, Svenja Huth sixth at €150K; all Wolfsburg players. The women’s FC Bayern Munich players join Wolfsburg in the top ranks along with Eintracht Frankfurt and TSG Hoffenheim.
To put things into perspective, star player Pernille Harder was traded out of Wolfsburg over to FC Chelsea in September 2020 for around €300K, while Christiano Ronaldo is being traded to Manchester United for around €20 million. Male players in the second divisions are still traded at higher rates than women. Ever heard of Marvin Ducksch of Hannover 96? He was recently traded for €2.5 million euro.
Oberdorf and her teammates are lucky that their team is based in Wolfsburg, a city essentially built for and around the headquarters of Volkswagen which generously funds its Football teams. It is a perfect example of why funding and attention leads to the success of a team. “The location of Wolfsburg is only so professional thanks to Volkswagen. Other Bundesliga teams look enviously at the great infrastructure in Wolfsburg,” adds Hübner. Even with the support of giants like Volkswagen though, the differences between men and women are immense.
But the money for women’s football doesn’t grow on trees — if the gender pay gap is to be erased, funding and media coverage needs to increase tremendously. The questions of lack of funding and media coverage are contingent upon each other, since more media coverage affords more funding, more funding means better teams and infrastructure, more presence and therefore higher overall pay. It seems like simple math, but the process has many moving parts and is ongoing.