The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has officially announced plans for a new expansion team in San Francisco’s Bay Area. It is the 14th host region in the United States women’s top flight, and its first season is in 2024. There are currently a dozen teams in the league, but two additional clubs will be added next year. It was announced last month that the Utah Royals FC are also set to join the league in 2024.
World Cup winners headline expansion ownership of NWSL in Bay Area
Ownership of the Bay Area team brings familiar faces. Former USWNT stars Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton, and Aly Wagner headline the group of investors. Along with the former players, club ownership will be led by Sixth Street Partners. According to ESPN, the conglomerate has reportedly invested $125 million into the newly-formed team.
A large chunk of this investment comes down to a $53 million expansion fee to join the NWSL. This is a considerably higher fee than other recent expansion clubs. Angel City FC, San Diego Wave and the aforementioned Utah Royals all reportedly paid less than $5 million for their franchise fees.
The remaining $70 million investment into the Bay Area side goes to a training facility, staff, and team infrastructure.
Majority investors have ties to Barcelona, Real Madrid, Yankees
Sixth Street Partners is led by CEO Alan Waxman. The financial group previously invested money into FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the San Antonio Spurs. Sixth Street also has partnership ties with the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys.
“We want to thank Commissioner Berman and the NWSL Board for their endorsement and their partnership throughout this process,” Waxman stated on Tuesday. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with this legendary group, who are lifelong role models to a generation of women, and we look forward to working with them to build a championship franchise on and off the field.”
“The Bay Area is where this all began,” said former two-time World Cup winner Brandi Chastain. “We are as excited about what this club will achieve on the field of play as we are for what it will represent for generations of women athletes and professionals yet to come. We look forward to the Bay fans embracing our team and celebrating the competitive spirit and talent we will put onto the field to continue the strong Bay tradition of playing to win championships.”
The team’s name, home stadium and training location are still in the works.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo
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