Despite operating during a pandemic, the NWSL continues to thrive. A broadcasting deal with CBS, and expansion teams in Los Angeles, Louisville, and Sacramento over the next year or so have made the NWSL one of the best leagues to invest in if someone is looking to get in on the ground floor of a league that’s not too expensive to get in right now (relatively speaking). Not to mention, getting in on NWSL team ownership helps support women’s soccer and women’s sports.
The Chicago Red Stars added a diverse group of new investors to their ownership group and that includes ESPN’s Sarah Spain. Spain announced her new venture on Monday on Twitter and the Chicago sports fan couldn’t be happier.
It's finally here! Announce day! I'm so proud & excited to share that I'm part of the new ownership group for the @ChicagoRedStars of the @NWSL, a team I've cheered on for years. I never could've dreamed I'd have the opportunity to be the owner of a pro sports team…WILD. (1/) pic.twitter.com/FqeUDiZPgL
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) March 1, 2021
Spain joins a growing number of famous NWSL team owners from all over the league. Over the past year, expansion team Angel City FC announced an ownership group that includes Natalie Portman, Serena Williams, and many celebrities and retired players from the U.S. Women’s National Team. Brittany Matthews, Patrick Mahomes’ fiancee, is an owner of the new Kansas City team while Naomi Osaka bought into the North Carolina Courage. Last, but not least, the Washington Spirit recently announced an ownership group that includes Chelsea Clinton, Jenna Bush Hager, Dominique Dawes, and Briana Scurry.
As a member of the media, concerns about a potential conflict of interest popped up. It’s a valid concern but Spain isn’t the first media member to own a sports team. She’s not even the first in NWSL as fellow ESPN colleague Julie Foudy is an owner of Angel City FC. In an answer to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jonathan Tannenwald’s question about that, Spain noted her ownership will have “the coolest disclosure possible” and that as she’s not a beat reporter, (and ESPN doesn’t have NWSL broadcasting rights) the risk of a conflict of interest should be “minimal.”
The number of big name investors, especially the number of women investing into the NWSL, will surely be a talking point in the upcoming season. The more money and support that goes into women’s soccer will only help propel the sport at a faster pace and what’s great is these investors seem sincerely interested in growing soccer and women’s sports instead of just having something in their portfolio. Having passionate owners like Sarah Spain can only be a good thing for the league and women’s sports.