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Monday, May 20, 2024

Washington Spirit’s Majority Owner Threatened With Legal Action

Washington-Spirit
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula

A month after the NWSL’s Washington Spirit won its first championship, the team’s investors have threatened legal action against majority owner Steve Baldwin for pursuing a bid inferior to that of co-owner Y. Michele Kang.

Despite Kang’s $35 million bid for majority ownership — which would increase her stake from the 35% she bought last December — Baldwin began exclusive negotiations earlier this month with a group led by Todd Boehly for a bid worth only $25 million

Boehly is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, and Sparks.

In a letter to Baldwin, 17 investors — including Senate majority leader Tom Daschle — voiced their support in favor of Kang’s ownership, noting it’s a “far superior” bid. 

  • Spirit players publicized their opinions in early October, telling Baldwin that “the person we trust is Michele,” and to “hand the team over to female ownership.”
  • The Washington Post reported that sources close to the situation say Baldwin is not interested in selling to Kang “under any circumstances.”

How We Got Here

Baldwin faced ongoing pressure to sell the team following his treatment of women, as well as harassment allegations against former coach Richie Burke, who was removed and prohibited from working in the NWSL.

After months of mounting pressure, Baldwin agreed to sell the team in October, stepping down as CEO and managing partner. That month, he said his stake should be sold by the end of the year.

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