In Brief

Navratilova: BBC pays McEnroe ten times more than me

Broadcaster’s gender pay gap is questioned by the nine-time Wimbledon champion

Tennis great Martina Navratilova has told the BBC’s Panorama programme that the corporation pays her ten times less than her fellow commentator John McEnroe.

Navratilova, who won the Wimbledon singles title nine times, has hit out at the BBC for “valuing male voices above women’s”.

In an interview for Panorama: Britain’s Equal Pay Scandal, which airs at 7.30pm tonight, Navratilova said: “It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000... I get about £15,000 for Wimbledon and unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon he’s getting at least 10 times as much money.   

“We were not told the truth, that’s for sure. It’s still the good old boys’ network. The bottom line is that male voices are valued more than women’s voices.”

Quoted by The Guardian, a BBC Sport spokeswoman defended the discrepancy, saying that McEnroe’s pay reflects his standing as a tennis pundit and that gender “isn’t a factor”. 

“Along with Sue Barker, John is regarded as the face of our Wimbledon coverage,” said the BBC spokeswoman. “He is a defining voice within the BBC’s coverage. He is widely considered to be the best expert/commentator in the sport, highly valued by our audiences and his contract means he cannot work for another UK broadcaster without our permission. His pay reflects all of this – gender isn’t a factor.”

Last year a gender pay row erupted at the BBC when a list of its highest earners was published. It was revealed that two-thirds of the broadcaster’s highest-paid presenters are male and only two women made the top ten in the list of TV stars’ salaries. 

Tennis fans and pundits have taken to Twitter to express their reactions to Navratilova’s comments.

“You’ve got your stars and pay mixed up”.

“Gender politics are rarely far from the surface in tennis”.

“They have different jobs”.

“Martina is a better commentator”.

Mac’s (unfair) advantage...

“Perhaps John McEnroe is 10x more entertaining?”.

“Seems fair enough”.

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