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Better Investment for Women’s Sports as Business Blooms

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National Women’s Soccer League announced last week that an investment group would pay $53 million to form a team in the San Francisco Bay Area. The majority investor is Sixth Street, a global investment firm with $65 billion of assets under management. 

According to reports other investors include former Meta Platforms Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and retired U.S. soccer stars Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton, and Aly Wagner. “Demand is growing for women’s sports content in all its forms. That makes me think investment will grow too,” Chrissy Franklin, executive vice president at sports agency Octagon (IPG) – Get Free Report.

Experts have stated that, plenty of investors agree, as they’re ploughing money into women’s sports amid the sports’ growing popularity. And that trend will continue.

“The number is eye-popping, but the NWSL is the first women’s sports league that will be strong and sustainable without a subsidy,” Marc Ganis, president of sports-business consultant Sportscorp, told TheStreet.com. “The price may be an outlier today, but over time, I think it will be viewed as a good investment.”

Sixth Street is a serious investor, notes Kurt Badenhausen, a reporter for sports business publication Sportico. “This isn’t a vanity play,” he told TheStreet.com. “It’s an investment firm whose purpose is to make money for shareholders. They’ve run the numbers and feel it’s good for shareholders.”

Badenhausen said the NWSL has an opportunity to be the best women’s soccer league in the world in quality of play, if it’s not already. That puts it far ahead of the men’s U.S. Major League Soccer.

Looking at other recent investments in women’s sports, CVC Capital Partners, a major investment firm, agreed in March to a $150 million investment in a partnership with the Women’s Tennis Association. Tennis ranks as the most financially successful women’s pro sport of the past 50 years.

In another report, the Women’s National Basketball Association last year received a $75 million commitment from an investor group. The investors included Laurene Powell Jobs, president of Emerson Collective, a social reform group; Mark Walter, chief executive of investment firm Guggenheim Partners; and Karen Finerman, chief executive of hedge fund manager Metropolitan Capital Advisors.

Looking in the broadest sense, “women’s sports are having their moment,” Badenhausen said. And the moment is likely to last.

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