The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer.
Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we? And if not, should we expect FIFA to pay the women’s soccer players three times the total revenue of their tournament to produce an income distribution we like better? Or level the distribution at the other end, by taking money away from men who haven’t actually done anything wrong by playing well and attracting many fans?
It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make no difference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise?