Time's up on 'historical excuse' for curling's pay inequity, says P.E.I. curler

For the first time this year, women curlers at the Canadian championships will play for the same prize money as the men, and a P.E.I. curler says it's a sign of changing viewership.

Last year, the women's Scotties winner took home $59,000 and the men's Brier prize was $105,000.

During the Canada Cup event in Leduc, Alta., on Sunday, Curling Canada CEO Katherine Henderson announced both will play for $105,000 this year. 

The second place teams will take home $65,000. Third place gets $45,000, leaving $85,000 for the remaining teams competing at the events.

Meaghan Hughes, who plays second on Suzanne Birt's P.E.I. team and competed at the Scotties last year, said the old arguments for pay inequity don't hold water.

"The historical excuse for difference in pay scale was the ratings — 'Well, the Brier brings bigger ratings on TV and therefore warrants a higher purse' — that's just not the case anymore," said Hughes.

"In fact, the Scotties playoffs were more watched than the Brier. The Scotties final had 100,000 more viewers than the Brier final."

Hughes said her team's budget for the year is just over $30,000, half of which comes from sponsors and half from prize money.

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