The Bay Area will host the NWSL’s third California team in 2024
The GIST: The NWSL just scored a Golden State hat trick. The league confirmed yesterday that the Bay Area will host the NWSL’s third California team, which will kick off next year. This won’t be the end of expansion news, either — the league also announced a search for two more new markets.
The investors: Private equity firm Sixth Street is the club’s majority investor, while retired USWNT players Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner hold minority stakes. Ex-Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg, former NBC news producer Tom Bernthal and sports execs Staci Slaughter and Rick Welts round out the ownership group.
- The incoming NWSL club joins Sixth Street’s impressive sports portfolio, which includes Spanish soccer superclubs Real Madrid and Barcelona and the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.
The details: Sixth Street and co. will invest $125M into the club, including around $35M to $50M for a brand new training facility and a $53M (!!!) expansion fee, easily the largest in league history. Fellow 2024 expansion team Utah Royals paid $2M thanks to a pre-existing deal, while Angel City and the San Diego Wave bought in for $2M to $5M each in 2020.
- The club will lock in a name and stadium later, though one venue is already in the mix — MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes’ field, PayPal Park. This would model NJ/NY Gotham FC’s stadium sitch, as the team is independently owned but plays at the NY Red Bulls’ arena.
The next steps: After booking two teams for 2024, the NWSL isn’t calling the expansion race anytime soon. The league is actively scouting two new clubs — one is expected to land in Boston, while the other spot may reignite interest from last year’s many prospective ownership groups.