Women's Soccer

Ale Xander

Hamilton
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
76,129
NWSL absolutely crushes their TV rights deals, getting "over 10x" their previous $1.5M / yr deal from CBS, while focusing on reach rather than revenue.

https://www.sportico.com/business/media/2023/nwsl-media-deals-espn-cbs-amazon-scripps-1234741394/

They're just doing so, so much correctly. The labor negotiations (Jessica Berman's specialty from her time at the NHL) were a home run, expansion has been done smartly, they're booting out the shitty owners, the league's best new team launch (Angel City) is apparently worth $180M as a franchise now, and deep-pocketed investors are lining up to be next in the door.

I mostly just want them to continue kicking the English WSL's arses. You look at average attendance per game across the league, and you've got:

League, last season, this season:

USA NWSL: 6,964 --> 10,384 (and expanding to 16 teams soon)
ENG WSL: 1,926 --> 4,560 (tottenham only averaged 517 home attendance!)
GER Frauen-BL: 711 --> 1,958 (Wolfsburg crushes it, >5k, would be 5th in the WSL)
JPN WE League: 1,555 --> 1,401 (launched in 2021-22; min 5 pro contracts on team)
AUS W-League: 1,125 --> 1,225 (new expansion to 12 teams, new stadiums)
Damallsvenskan: 824 --> 923 (oldest fully pro women's league, attendance stable since ~2003)
FRA D1 Feminin: 664 --> 963 (only Lyon & PSG averaged >1k in 2022-23)
NOR Toppserien: 592 --> 450 (oldest women's league - 1984 - but poorly supported)
NED Eredivisie V: 538 --> 419 (was at 8 teams only a few years ago; only Feyenoord is well-supported)

Data on attendance is a lot cleaner than data on salaries, which is scant. But the NWSL CBA suggests two very important things: (1) the league makes enough money that there's a pie worth fighting over, and (2) the league's teams can more-or-less cap their player budget if they want to and don't have to get into a bidding war, so they likely have some margin to invest in building a fanbase, facilities, coaching, etc.

It wasn't always this way. A dozen years ago, the top leagues in the world were in Sweden, Germany, and the USA (WPS, which folded a year later). England zoomed up out of nowhere, professionalizing even ahead of Germany (where only a few clubs are fully professional, even still). Italy and Spain had their leagues go allegedly fully professional only last year. There's not a ton of other strong competition. Like, NCAA D1W Soccer probably puts more butts in seats per-team than all but NWSL and WSL.

And the NWSL has done it while maintaining a lot of parity. The best team (SD Wave) has 1.65 points per match played (33 points), while the worst team this year has 1.10 P/MP (22 points). It's going to be a very exciting last few weeks in the run-up to the playoffs. Some teams are a lot more valuable than others, according to that Sportico article (and they'd know best - theirs is the best MLS club valuations list every year), but they're all growing strongly in value.

It'd be a great time for, say, Boston to figure out where to put a women's soccer stadium. No time like the present, Mayor Wu!
Boston Breakers are supposed to be in Franklin Park, $30 million to refurbish White Stadium
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
9,202

Very nice. Big step up.

Should be fun playoffs. The top 4 teams are very even and none of the clubs are going into the postseason with massive momentum.

And Soph Smith is back! She logged 30 minutes yesterday.

An absolutely disastrous season for Chicago, finishing dead bottom of the table. Thank god there's no relegation. But there's new ownership, who have already pledged $15m for club improvements, a new manager to be hired, and the return of Mal Swanson next season. Hope springs eternal in the NWSL - the Red Stars only finished 7 points out of a playoff spot.
 

steeplechase3k

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 25, 2005
3,020
Portland, OR
This is really beautiful.


Last page confirms she's coming back for 1 more year with the Thorns. Sinc is such a private, humble person it will be interesting to see how she reacts to what I assume will turn into a farewell tourn next year. As a Thorns fans I'm excited to get to watch her for one more year. I've been watching her since she was at the University of Portland. She was a freshman in 2001, I'm not sure if I went to any games that year, but I know I did starting in 2002, and in 2004 I was at pretty much every match (and have been a season ticket holder since 2005). Amazing player, amazing person.
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
76,129
Reminder that the sendoffs for Krieger and Rapinoe are tonight in the NWSL Final in half an hour (8:00PM ET) on CBS.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,182
Pittsburgh, PA
this game has been a hell of a lot of fun to watch, other than the Pinoe "weekend at bernies" routine in minute 3. Rose Lavelle doing magic with the ball. Midge Purce has absolutely skinned the Gotham left side alive a couple of times, including dribbling 3 fools in a row to set up the first goal.
 

candylandriots

unkempt
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 30, 2004
12,645
Berlin
Cross-posting from the Union Berlin losing streak thread, as this seems like kind of a big deal:

I guess one silver lining in this extraordinarily sad story is that we'll see the first ever female coach on the touchline in a Bundesliga match on the 25th. U-19 coach Markus Hoffman will take over for Fischer on an interim basis, and his assistant is Marie-Louise Eta.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,182
Pittsburgh, PA
A good warmup before tonight's NBA game (7:30pm) can be found in the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament championship match, 6:00pm ET - Stanford vs Florida State. #1-ranked FSU has a possible #1 overall NWSL draft pick in striker Jordynn Dudley (who starred for the USA U-20 team this summer) and likely top-5 pick LW Onyi Echegini (who missed the start of the season to play for Nigeria in the Women's World Cup!), and they absolutely crushed teams all season. #3-ranked Stanford has a plethora of talent but had struggled to put it all together, until they looked the best they had all tournament in offing #6 BYU in the national semis last Friday. They're led by likely top-5 pick CM Maya Doms.
 

steeplechase3k

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 25, 2005
3,020
Portland, OR
Good news in Portland! I look forward to being a season ticket holder again, once the sale is complete.

View: https://twitter.com/itsmeglinehan/status/1733252695115305263


Tweet from Meg Linehan
The sale of Portland Thorns to new ownership led by Lisa Bhathal Merage is almost complete.

• Thorns staying in Portland & Providence Park
• Committed to building new training facility
• Sale expected to close early 2024
Article:
https://theathletic.com/5123628/2023/12/08/portland-thorns-sale-bhathal/

The sale of Portland Thorns FC is nearly complete. The Bhathal family, via RAJ Sports, is in the final stages of purchasing the team from Peregrine Sports, LLC, according to two sources briefed on the transaction who were not authorized to speak publicly while the deal is still in progress. While the NWSL and commissioner Jessica Berman had targeted the end of this year for the sales of both the Thorns and OL Reign, the close of this transaction is not expected until early 2024.

Lisa Bhathal Merage is leading the transaction for RAJ Sports and will serve as the team’s representative on the NWSL Board of Governors once approved. Bhathal Merage’s brother and partner across multiple business entities, Alex Bhathal, will serve as the alternate governor. Sportico first reported that the two sides were engaged in exclusive talks last month.
 

steeplechase3k

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 25, 2005
3,020
Portland, OR
The sale of the Thorns is complete.

$63 million.


View: https://twitter.com/ThornsFC/status/1742637085834780994


View: https://twitter.com/RyanTClarke/status/1742637182903558596


View: https://twitter.com/itsmeglinehan/status/1742637468279583063


https://theathletic.com/5177529/2024/01/03/portland-thorns-bhathal-nwsl/

The sale of Portland Thorns FC to RAJ Sports is complete, the team announced on Wednesday. According to two sources briefed on the agreement, the sale price totaled $63 million with the NWSL board of governors approving the transaction last week in a formal vote. As reported here last month, Lisa Bhathal Merage will serve as the team’s controlling owner and representative on the NWSL board of governors. Her brother and partner across multiple business entities, Alex Bhathal, will serve as the alternate governor.

The Bhathals have committed to keeping the team in Portland. The Thorns have a lease agreement in place to play in Providence Park through 2035.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
9,202
She’s the co-owner of the Sacto Kings iirc fwiw
It’s great for the league to have so many new owners that are also involved in ownership or other professional franchises - it brings expertise, connections, and general sense that this league is here to stay.

$65m is a massive number. Great for the league and even more important that one of the marquee clubs no longer has a piece of shit owner.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
14,542
The USL Super League has obtained D1 sanctioning from the USSF and plans to play a fall-spring schedule with eight teams. Some of the markets are very marginal for division one sports and are in there because existing USL men's teams are launching women's teams (Spokane, Lexington). This seems like a dicey, expensive proposition to me.

View: https://twitter.com/uslsuperleague/status/1756030517000937618


 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
76,129
In season 2, among the teams seeming to be added is Palm Beach. Won’t they cannibalize the Fort Lauderdale team?

or did they lose a competition with FTL for the SFL team? That website isn’t very clear
 

SoxFanInCali

has the rich, deep voice of a god
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jun 3, 2005
15,758
California. Duh.
Liverpool just likely ended Chelsea's title chances in a wild game. I was listening to a stream of the last 30 minutes while working, needless to say I didn't get much work done in the last 15 minutes.

HT: Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea
51': Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
66': Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea
80': Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea
81': Liverpool 3-2 Chelsea
83': Liverpool 3-3 Chelsea
92': Liverpool 4-3 Chelsea
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
9,202
Emma Hayes goes out a champion at Chelsea, wins her 5 consecutive WSL championship and 14th major trophy overall.

and now the US gets to enjoy one of the best managers the world.

Liverpool actually surged into 4th with a late season hot stretch, beating FA Cup champs ManU by 6 points. That’s massive progress for the club, just in their 2nd year from promotion. The Reds still have a huge talent gap to close before they are toe to toe with Chelsea, Citu, and Arsenal, but they have crashed the party.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,182
Pittsburgh, PA
More details about the USL Super League have emerged, especially for the DC franchise (which will go head-to-head in the market with the Spirit), which now has a name (DC Power FC, could be worse), logo, team President, head coach (Frederic Brillant, recently an assistant with the Utah Royals), and ownership group - and that ownership now includes former LSU and current Chicago Sky star Angel Reese.

Notably absent from the details are anything about their roster, schedule, or stadium location.
 

the1andonly3003

New Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,672
3/4 Chicago, 1/4 Boston
Need to ask this to a crowd that follows NWSL more than me. Red Stars are playing at Wrigley vs an expansion team and I plan on attending, weather permitting. Are they in the middle of an international break this week? Is next weekend's fixtures the first back? Will players be rested?
 

Catcher Block

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 7, 2006
5,989
St. Louis
Need to ask this to a crowd that follows NWSL more than me. Red Stars are playing at Wrigley vs an expansion team and I plan on attending, weather permitting. Are they in the middle of an international break this week? Is next weekend's fixtures the first back? Will players be rested?
Yep, international break ends on June 4. The Wrigley Field match is a proper, regular-season NWSL match.

Each club has a handful of international players who will have played in the matches over the break, but they're just friendlies. I'd be surprised if anyone misses the NWSL match due to fatigue if that's what you're asking.
 

Jimy Hendrix

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 15, 2002
5,971
Need to ask this to a crowd that follows NWSL more than me. Red Stars are playing at Wrigley vs an expansion team and I plan on attending, weather permitting. Are they in the middle of an international break this week? Is next weekend's fixtures the first back? Will players be rested?
Also, to give you some color in case you don't have it, of the two expansion teams this year you are seeing the Red Stars play against the exciting one. Utah went more like what you think of when you think "expansion team" in sports, low spending, building something slowly, not good yet. Bay FC spent over a million bucks in transfer fees on big name attackers (including the world record for a fee in women's football) and are a very entertaining mess.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,182
Pittsburgh, PA
Need to ask this to a crowd that follows NWSL more than me. Red Stars are playing at Wrigley vs an expansion team and I plan on attending, weather permitting. Are they in the middle of an international break this week? Is next weekend's fixtures the first back? Will players be rested?
Also, Chicago just got its star striker Mal Swanson back from long term injury recently, she was just seen tonight for the USA out there lighting up South Korea like a Christmas tree. So there will be plenty of quality to watch.

Bay FC is a glass cannon. They bought a 3-woman front line this off-season for over a million bucks - absolute financial lunacy by WoSo standards, like they bought Barcelona's striker and gave her a big raise. But their defense is... porous. Most goals allowed in the league, though advanced stats say they've been unlucky to do so. Their goalie was injured on duty for Canada. It's been a bumpy ride so far, but they can flash some moments of brilliance even despite that.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,182
Pittsburgh, PA
I am having trouble differentiating Bay FC with Angel FC. Which one is getting all the media attention with the big name ownership?
They both have big pocketed ownership, but Angel City FC is the most valuable and highest revenue women's sports team in the world, more than double Barcelona Femeni. They sold 16,000 season tickets before a ball was kicked in anger. ACFC is also a basket case for management strife and conflicts between its primary owner / funder (Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit and Mr. Serena Williams), and the female celebrities like Natalie Portman who make up a lot of the other ownership, and the team President, Julie Uhrman, who may or may not be wasting a lot of money and certainly hasn't brought success on the field.

Bay FC is newly launched this year, fans are excited about the team but nobody realistic expected immediate success, despite the billionaire primary owner. They hoped for entertaining but flawed, and they got it.
 

the1andonly3003

New Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,672
3/4 Chicago, 1/4 Boston
They both have big pocketed ownership, but Angel City FC is the most valuable and highest revenue women's sports team in the world, more than double Barcelona Femeni. They sold 16,000 season tickets before a ball was kicked in anger. ACFC is also a basket case for management strife and conflicts between its primary owner / funder (Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit and Mr. Serena Williams), and the female celebrities like Natalie Portman who make up a lot of the other ownership, and the team President, Julie Uhrman, who may or may not be wasting a lot of money and certainly hasn't brought success on the field.

Bay FC is newly launched this year, fans are excited about the team but nobody realistic expected immediate success, despite the billionaire primary owner. They hoped for entertaining but flawed, and they got it.
That's right. Angel FC was the one that got tons of Bloomberg coverage
View: https://youtu.be/zD1B9EiVkQw?si=h6uYjQTYtHhSokj5

View: https://youtu.be/O5bafHWooWk?si=pLW9lL4O2NmoSS9N

View: https://youtu.be/LrY3ikRgnKI?si=PYm1yBoqJzlvxj3u


Unfortunately, this was all I knew of them
 

the1andonly3003

New Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,672
3/4 Chicago, 1/4 Boston
record crowd at Wrigley last night w/ 35k
Red Stars really need to move out of Bridgeport to build a fan base. Not passionate enough to see "Donaldson Out" yet

footballing was eh...Red Stars poor form continued, with Bay FC winning the possession battle...Red Stars could not really create anything
classic midwest weather with periods in the first half of rain, making for a damp, raw 2nd half

Not used to seeing away goals not being celebrated with the traveling away end. Maybe that is something that has to change for soccer here in the US
 

Awesome Fossum

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
3,958
Austin, TX
Is anyone watching TST? Women's final is on now on ESPN+. USWNT alumnae team playing NC Courage. Really fun back and forth game -- US up 4-3 with 6 minutes left in regulation before the target score period.

Edit: The golden goal:

https:/twitter.com/TST7v7/status/1800321953594781975

 
Last edited:

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,182
Pittsburgh, PA
Not bad for a newly launched league. Honestly they might not even be getting paid for it, this might be just a barter deal, but having NBC back the project and get it out to fans is a good statement of faith that's worth more than the couple shekels they might have gotten with the highest bidder.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,182
Pittsburgh, PA
https://x.com/FOS/status/1808336118967939367

Two year old team more valuable than the original NWSL teams? bubble?
I refer you to my deep dive on the finances in the women's game. Team valuations and revenue are a key part of it.

Angel City makes more than double the revenue that Barcelona Femeni do. They are a staggeringly big success at building a brand and business within women's sports, literally the most financially successful women's sports team of all time, by quite some distance. There's nothing bubble-ish about the prices being thrown around here. A year before launch, in April 2021, they raised money at a $100M valuation. They sold 16,000 season tickets before a ball was kicked, and out-draw some NBA teams in attendance per game. They were valued at $180M 8 months ago (by Sportico, sort of the Forbes of sports-team valuators, it's their thing), which was a pretty reasonable revenue multiple given the growth rates. If I were offered a piece of Angel City FC at a $250M valuation today, I'd be asking how much they'd allow me to buy.