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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Utah Royals Likely Crowned As One of Two NWSL Expansion Teams

Utah-Royals
Utah Royals FC

The National Women’s Soccer League will expand to 14 teams, likely by 2024, according to commissioner Jessica Berman.

The start date hasn’t been confirmed by the league, which is finalizing a contract with an investment bank to handle the expansion process.

One of the two expansion teams is expected to be the Utah Royals FC, who moved to Kansas City at the end of 2020 to become the Kansas City Current.

“There are steps that need to be taken still in order to be in a position to be able to say, yes, in fact, that is happening,” Berman said about the team’s return.

David Blitzer, co-founder of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, and Smith Ownership Group purchased Real Salt Lake — the Royals’ MLS counterpart — earlier this year for a reported $400 million.

  • When the Royals moved, Real Salt Lake kept the rights to the team name and branding.
  • It could bring back the NWSL club in 2023 or 2024 for a predetermined fee.
  • There’s no public frontrunner for a second expansion team, but more than 30 investment groups are reportedly interested in the league.

Valuation Station

It’s unclear how much the return — or expansion — fee is. NWSL franchise valuations have reportedly increased tenfold over two years, and outlets are reporting that Berman is working with RSL’s ownership for an updated fee.

“The market will tell us what the price should be,” Berman said. “Certainly, our teams raising capital have helped change the nature of the conversation of how much our franchises are worth.”

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