The National Women’s Soccer League looks set to add three more teams. Although not yet official, reports claim that the top American women’s league will expand to Boston, Utah, and the San Francisco Bay Area in the near future.
According to the news outlets, the NWSL board approved the moves earlier in the week. Financial terms of the expansions are interesting as well.
The Boston and Bay Area team owners will pay a $50 million franchise fee to join the league. However, the Utah-based club is set to fork up between $2 million and $5 million. The low price tag was reportedly agreed years ago.
San Francisco and Utah are set to begin play for the 2024 season, while the Boston team will join at a later date. The NWSL currently has a dozen clubs competing for the title.
The addition of the aforementioned trio will eventually bring the total teams to 15.
NWSL popularity rapidly growing
A massive rise in franchise fees is a credit to the league’s growth here Stateside. Popularity of the NWSL is now rapidly growing. In fact, the league experienced a 71% increase in television viewing last season.
The impressive numbers even came at time in which the women’s top flight was having serious off-field issues with a number of their coaches.
Franchise fees for Angel City FC and San Diego Wave were previously in the $2 million to $5 million range. The two teams are the most recent additions to the league and formed just a couple of years ago.
Familiar faces joining team ownerships
The Bay Area team is financially backed by a major investment firm. However, the group also includes former USWNT players Brandi Chastain, Aly Wagner, Leslie Osborne, and Danielle Slaton.
Boston, a city that previously had an NWSL team, will be founded by a group led by Jennifer Epstein.
The businesswoman created Juno Equity and is the daughter of Boston Celtics co-owner Robert Epstein. The Boston Breakers played five years in the NWSL before folding in 2018.
Much like Boston, Utah also has experience in the women’s soccer league. The Utah Royals played three seasons in the NWSL before ceasing operations in late 2020.
Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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