Over the weekend, two expansion teams proved that soccer continues to trend in the U.S., capitalizing on celebrity ownership to build fan bases.
On Friday, the NWSL’s Angel City FC won its home opener 2-1 over North Carolina Courage in front of a sellout crowd of 22,000 at Banc of California Stadium.
Then on Sunday, MLS’ Nashville SC played Philadelphia Union to a 1-1 draw with just over 30,000 in attendance. Its newly opened GEODIS Park is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the country.
The genesis for each club was entirely different, but both feature a bevy of high-profile investors.
Angel City’s founding owners include Natalie Portman, Alexis Ohanian, and a large collection of former USWNT stars.
Nashville, meanwhile, had grassroots origins in the lower levels of American men’s soccer but picked up Reese Witherspoon, Derrick Henry, and the Turner family as investors along the way.
Angel City shares Banc of California Stadium with MLS’ LAFC, while GEODIS Park opened this season after a $335-million, privately funded construction.