NCAA Football

NWSL to add teams in Boston, Utah and San Francisco Bay Area: Source

NWSL to add teams in Boston, Utah and San Francisco Bay Area: Source

National women’s football The league is set to expand with three teams in Boston, Utah and the San Francisco Bay Area, a source familiar with the expansion process confirmed Athletic. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the news. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The groups in Boston and the Bay Area have agreed to pay about $50 million each in franchise fees, the largest amount of any upfront payment required to enter the NWSLthe source confirmed.
  • The Utah title fee is expected to be between $2 million and $5 million, an arrangement negotiated several years ago.
  • Utah and the Bay Area teams will join the league in 2024, with Boston joining later.


With the addition of the three teams, the NWSL will have 15 franchises. los angeles’ Angel City FC. and San Diego Wave FC. entered the league as the bottom two teams, with a reported franchise fee of between $2 million and $5 million. The jump in the expansion fee indicates the willingness of outside parties to bet on the league’s value, particularly its media rights.

NWSL games are primarily broadcast on Paramount+, with some matches broadcast on CBS Sports Network or CBS, which is reportedly paying the league $4.5 million over three years for the broadcast rights as part of a deal signed in 2020.

The Bay Area expansion team’s ownership group includes private equity firm Sixth Street Partners and former US Women’s National Team players Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton and Ellie Wagner. Four of them have experience in all three professional leagues in the United States and a career that has spanned 10 professional teams at home and abroad. All four are also Santa Clara Broncos.

“We learned so much” Earlier, Osborne said Athletic. “We saw what doesn’t work, what we want to work, what we don’t want to work. We’ve seen it all. Now we have an opportunity to be directly involved.”

Jennifer Epstein, daughter of Celtics co-owner Robert Epstein and founder of Juno Equity, is part of an all-female investment group backing the Boston bid. This is not Boston’s first appearance in the NWSL, as the city was home to the Boston Breakers, who appeared in the now-defunct Women’s United Soccer Association and Women’s Professional Soccer and the NWSL from the league’s inaugural season in 2013 until the team left in 2018.

Utah Royals, NWSL team from 2018 to 2020, filed and moved to Kansas City in December 2020 after the former owner was ousted by both the NWSL and MLS after Athletic reported his racist behavior and toxic culture at Royals and RSL.

NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said earlier this month that the league should develop three-, five- and 10-year expansion plans, adding that the NWSL does not have a target number of teams.

“The demand is there for us to expand as quickly as we want to,” she said. “It will be our self-discipline that will keep that enthusiasm in check to ensure that we do this sustainably and sustainably.”

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(Photo: Ira L. Black/Getty Images)

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