As the deadline to submit bids for an NWSL expansion franchise approaches, there’s no shortage of interested investors.
The NWSL is looking to add two teams to its 12-club roster by 2024, and commissioner Jessica Berman said over the weekend that she expects “five-to-10 official bids” after the Nov. 4 deadline following interest from 82 groups.
There may already be a frontrunner. When David Blitzer and Ryan Smith purchased MLS’ Real Salt Lake earlier this year — reportedly for nearly $400 million — the deal included a reported $2 million option to revive the Utah Royals, which dissolved in 2020.
- Kansas City Current owner Angie Long recently said the next team’s owners could pay “upwards of $50 million” in expansion fees.
- A decision on expansion franchises will be announced in early 2023.
Berman added that findings from the NWSL misconduct investigation didn’t turn away interest.
“We need people around the table who are willing to face down the challenges that women face in society and are willing to do the hard work to solve those challenges in the NWSL,” she said.
If investors weren’t already convinced of the league’s growing popularity, they‘re sure to be now.
Saturday’s NWSL Championship game between the Portland Thorns and the Kansas City Current — the first in primetime — drew in 915,000 viewers, a 71% year-over-year increase.
The league’s 10th season, which set multiple league attendance records, reportedly outperformed MLS’ 10th season by 43% in playoff attendance.