• Loading stock data...
Sunday, March 3, 2024

To the List of NWSL Firsts This Offseason Add: A Record Transfer Fee

  • The Portland Thorns will pay $320,000 to acquire Chelsea midfielder Jessie Fleming.
  • Clubs are utilizing the new money coming from record media rights deals.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

A transfer fee of $320,000 is not typically an eye-popping sum for a soccer club acquiring a new player. But that amount is the new record for an NWSL team, according to multiple reports, with the Portland Thorns in the process of buying midfielder Jessie Fleming from Chelsea, currently the top team in the U.K.’s Women’s Super League. Fleming also stars for the Canadian national team, which she helped lead to a gold medal during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. 

Earlier this month, the Thorns were sold to members of the Bhathal family for $63 million, representing the largest franchise purchase price in NWSL history. The Bhathals head up venture firm RAJ Capital, which also has a minority ownership stake in the Sacramento Kings. Portland finished second out of 12 teams in the NWSL’s 2023 regular season, before losing in the playoff semifinals. Now, the club’s new ownership isn’t wasting any time spending its resources to keep competing.

Just Getting Started?

The financial strategy of paying for top talent outside of the U.S. being used by the Thorns is likely the next evolution for NWSL clubs, as they strive for top-tier global status while building upon the league’s growth.

In the wake of the NWSL’s new $240 million media rights deals with ESPN, CBS, Amazon, and Scripps Sports, this offseason has resulted in record contracts for multiple NWSL players. The Chicago Red Stars gave Mallory Swanson a four-year, $2 million deal and the Houston Dash will pay forward María Sánchez $1.5 million over the next three years.

Meanwhile, the NWSL will play a record 26 matches per club this season, with more TV slots to fill and two incoming expansion franchises in Boston and the Bay area.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

MASN-Comcast Negotiations: Big Implications for TV and MLB

Orioles-controlled RSN continues to negotiate with dominant local cable carrier.
Max Verstappen. Christian Horner

Formula One Is Back After a Particularly Spicy Offseason

Formula One begins its 2024 season with Saturday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

NFL Combine Is Buzzing With Talk of Nearly $1B in Extra Cap Space

The 2024 NFL salary cap is $255.4M per team, a $30M-per-team jump over last season.

Electronic Arts’ Layoffs Signal Ongoing Evolution, Struggles

The company is set to make a second major round of staff cuts in the last year.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Jenny Cavnar is Breaking Barriers During Oakland’s Strange Season

0:00
0:00

Featured Today

The Caitlin Clark Economy: Much More Than an Army of Traveling Young Girls

The economy surrounding No. 22 goes far beyond her biggest fans.
March 2, 2024

Sheer Madness: What You Need to Know About MLB’s New Uniform Saga

MLB’s reworked uniforms have become a major source of spring training controversy.
Oct 5, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, points to the lettering outside of the museum Tuesday.
February 28, 2024

How Do You Keep Negro Leagues Baseball History Alive? Put It in a Video Game

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum attracting increased donations, visits from ‘MLB The Show.’
February 26, 2024

The Victor Wembanyama Rookie Card Market Hasn’t Matched His Hype

A cooling market and Fanatics autograph deal leaves big-money collectors waiting.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Spotify
Multiple - USA Careers
Nike
Multiple - USA Careers
EA
Multiple - USA Careers
Aug 15, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Chain crew members walk on the field prior to the game between the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Football Is Finally Getting With the Times, Technologically Speaking

Helmet communications in college and first-down technology in NFL could be coming.
February 28, 2024

NFLPA Report Cards: Dolphins Best, Commanders Worst

The NFLPA released its second annual team report cards.
Anthony Kim
February 28, 2024

Can LIV Golf’s Bid to Bring Back Retired PGA Tour Star Succeed?

Anthony Kim will compete on LIV Golf the rest of the season.
Sponsored

How LivePass is Redefining Ticketing for the Next Generation of Fans

The next wave of ticketing technology.
Amanda Vandervort
February 26, 2024

With the NWSL Thriving, Is There More Room at the Top in Women’s Pro Soccer?

The USL Super League has received D-I sanctioning from U.S. Soccer.
February 26, 2024

Unsigned MLB Stars Spark Tension Between Teams, Players, and Union

Nineteen teams are currently projected to open the 2024 season with reduced payrolls.
NFL salary cap
February 23, 2024

NFL Salary Cap Sees Historic Spike Ahead of 2024 Season

Each franchise was allotted $255.4M, which is a $30M increase for each team.
February 23, 2024

Despite Nike’s Efforts, MLB Uniform Controversy Isn’t Looking Good

Manufacturer touts product benefits but ignores complaints of see-through fabric.