Martina Navratilova furious over John McEnroe's salary

Glen Norman
March 20, 2018

McEnroe's pay packet, of £150,000 (€178,000) to £199,999 (€227,444), was revealed in a list of the BBC's top-paid talent last summer.

Speaking on the documentary, which airs on Monday (18 March) night, Navratilova said: "It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000".

Figures publicly disclosed by the broadcaster a year ago revealed that McEnroe's salary falls within the £150,000-£200,000 bracket.

"We were not told the truth, that's for sure", Navratilova said.

"[I'm] not happy needless to say, I mean it's shocking", Navratilova said.


Explaining the discrepancy, BBC Sport told Panorama that it was not down to gender.

In a statement to Panorama, BBC Sport said, "John and Martina perform different roles on the team, and John's role is of a different scale, scope and commitment".

British companies are under heightened scrutiny over their pay structures and the BBC has faced criticism from women complaining they are paid less than men in equivalent jobs and misled about their pay to hide widespread gender discrimination.

Panorama estimated that McEnroe, who won Wimbledon three times, appeared about 30 times for the BBC at the Championships past year, compared with Navratilova's 10 appearances.

This is a system that could be extended - the BBC pays both Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer to talk about football, paying the former £1.75m and the latter £450,000 - but their playing records suggest that difference is too big. You have said that you will "sort" the gender-pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years.


Fran Unsworth, BBC director of news and current affairs, said: "We don't think we have acted illegally in regard to equal pay".

The BBC says that McEnroe has featured 30 times for its Wimbledon coverage. He was also prohibited from doing commentary work elsewhere, making his contract with BBC one of exclusivity.

The gap in pay between men and women has made headlines in recent months. "He is contracted to be on call for the BBC across the entire tournament".

Panorama's review of BBC's Wimbledon coverage in 2017 found that McEnroe made about three times as many appearances as Navratilova.

It said McEnroe's pay reflected that he was considered the sport's best commentator and his contract stopped him working for another United Kingdom broadcaster without permission, adding: 'Gender isn't a factor'.


The embarrassing news comes as fellow United Kingdom broadcaster Channel4 today revealed that it has a startling 28.6% mean pay gap and 47.6% mean bonus gap between genders, a statistic the broadcaster's chief executive Alex Mahon said made for "uncomfortable reading".

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