Thursday September 28, 2023

NWSL Increases Salary Cap, Focuses on Reform and Growth

  • The NWSL has increased its salary cap by 25%.
  • The league also bumped up the available allocation money to $600,000.
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
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As team owners grow their investments in the NWSL, the league is investing in its teams.

The NWSL has increased its salary cap by 25% to nearly $1.4 million and bumped up the available allocation money to $600,000 for the upcoming season.

“Our teams are doubling and tripling their investment, whether it relates to coaching staff, or facilities, or other areas that we know our players need and deserve in order to perform at the highest level,” NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said ahead of Thursday’s 2023 NWSL Draft. 

As the league focuses on its teams and players, Berman also addressed the results of the league’s joint investigation with the NWSLPA into misconduct allegations.

  • Four former coaches were permanently banned.
  • The Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns — which are both for sale — were fined a respective $1.5 million and $1 million.

“Fine money is going to be used in furtherance of systemic reform and to directly benefit the lives of players,” Berman said.

Thorns owner Merritt Paulson pledged $1 million upon his sale announcement to be used for establishing an NWSL player safety office.

Window of Opportunity

Berman revealed CBS’ exclusive negotiation window to renew the league’s media rights has ended. Its current deal — reportedly worth $4.5 million — expires after the upcoming 2023 season.

“We’ve both expressed a positive sentiment toward a future relationship — while also recognizing that we will need to have conversations with the broader marketplace,” Berman said.

The NWSL plans to add two teams for the 2024 season.

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