Navratilova slams BBC after McEnroe is paid ten times more

Martina Navratilova speaks to Panorama reporter Jane Corbin about pay for her work as part of the BBC's Wimbledon coverage. Photographer: Steve Anderson
Martina Navratilova speaks to Panorama reporter Jane Corbin about pay for her work as part of the BBC's Wimbledon coverage. Photographer: Steve Anderson
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Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has hit out at the BBC after discovering that fellow Wimbledon pundit John McEnroe is paid at least ten times more than her.

McEnroe’s pay packet, of £150,000-£199,999, was revealed in a list of the BBC’s top-paid talent last summer.

Navratilova, 61, told a BBC Panorama investigation that she is paid around £15,000 by the BBC for her commentator role at Wimbledon.

“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 ten times as much money,” she said.

Navratilova said that she was told she was getting paid a comparable amount to men doing the same job as her, adding: “We were not told the truth, that’s for sure. [I’m] not happy … It’s shocking

“It’s still the good old boys’ network … The bottom line is that male voices are valued more than women’s voices.”

Navratilova, who was crowned Wimbledon ladies’ champion nine times, said that her agent will ask for more money in future.

A BBC Sport spokesperson told Panorama: “John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment.

“They are simply not comparable. John’s pay reflects all of this, gender isn’t a factor.”

Panorama said it estimated that McEnroe, 59, who was crowned Wimbledon champion three times, appeared around 30 times for the BBC at Wimbledon last year, compared to Navratilova’s ten appearances.

Meanwhile, former BBC News China editor Carrie Gracie, who resigned from her role in protest at inequalities and now works for the channel in London, said she could leave the corporation.

“I haven’t made a sacrifice … I may still have to leave the BBC,” she said.

And former BBC news presenter Maxine Mawhinney said she is considering bringing a case against the broadcaster over pay.

She had just left the BBC after 20 years when the pay list was published last summer. Asked if she would take a case against the BBC over equal pay, she said: “If I find that I was entitled to have been paid at a different rate during the time I was there of course I would.”

A BBC spokeswoman said McEnroe, along with Sue Barker, “is regarded as the face of our Wimbledon coverage” and “widely considered to be the best expert/commentator in the sport”, and that the contracts with the two were “entirely different”.