The Seattle Sounders ownership group is reportedly purchasing the OL Reign
The GIST: The ownership group of MLS’ Seattle Sounders is reportedly in “advanced talks” to finalize a purchase of the NWSL’s OL Reign, which could lead to a significant MLS and NWSL crossover. When it rains, it pours.
The details: While there’s no official indication of the team’s price, it’s currently valued at $49M and ranks eighth in NWSL valuations. The club’s current ownership, the OL Groupe, officially hung a “for sale” sign on the franchise in April. It really is the end of an era.
The history: The Sounders have supported women’s soccer in Seattle in the past, launching amateur team Sounders Select Women in 2000. When the Sounders joined MLS in 2008, it sold its women’s squad, which once boasted Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, and Hope Solo. When the NWSL came to town in 2012, the new and separate Reign franchise was founded.
- The two teams connected in 2019 when Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer bought a minority ownership stake in Reign FC, overseeing a joint Zulilly sponsorship and a move to Cheney Stadium. In 2021, the first-ever PNW Experience doubleheader drew 27K fans, shattering an NWSL attendance record.
The OL Groupe: Hanauer and other minority owners sold their stakes when OL Groupe — the parent company of France’s Olympique Lyonnais — purchased the club in January 2020. Former Fubo exec John Textor bought OL Groupe in December 2022, bringing the group’s six professional football clubs under Textor’s Eagle Football Holdings.
- Since then, Textor has been selling off OL Groupe’s assets, shipping Olympique Lyonnais Féminin off to Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang in May. OL Groupe is reportedly selling Reign to avoid a conflict of interest in NWSL ownership.
Zooming out: Not just in Seattle, but across the globe, wealthy individuals are looking to diversify their portfolios through sports ownership, and soccer is a primary target — it’s a universal sport attracting universal interest. Looks like a tap-in.