The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has seen a significant boost in team valuations, with the average franchise now worth an impressive $66 million. Leading the pack is Angel City, valued at a remarkable $180 million, solidifying its status as the NWSL's most valuable club and possibly the most valuable women's sports team globally.
Angel City's financial success can be attributed to several factors, including their substantial revenue, estimated at $31 million for the current season. Notably, approximately $11 million of this revenue comes from sponsorships, surpassing the sponsorship earnings of many Major League Soccer (MLS) teams.
The San Diego Wave follows as the second-most valuable NWSL franchise with a valuation of $90 million, while the Chicago Red Stars are at the bottom of the list with a valuation of $40 million, along with revenues that lag 34 percent behind the team ranked just above them.
The NWSL as a whole is expected to generate a staggering $112 million in revenue during the 2023 regular season, with an average annual revenue per team of $9.7 million. The league's value-to-revenue multiple stands at 7.1, outperforming prominent sports leagues like Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL), Formula One, and the Premier League in this regard.
Angel City's ascent to the top of the NWSL's valuation chart was bolstered by their impressive fan support, boasting 16,000 season-ticket holders and leading the league in attendance during their inaugural 2022 season, averaging 19,105 fans per game—twice the average of any other club except the Portland Thorns.
Angel City's celebrity investors, including Serena Williams, Christina Aguilera, Eva Longoria, and Billie Jean King, have further fuelled the club's success, as they secured high-profile sponsorship deals with brands like Chevrolet, Gatorade, PNC, and BMO. The club's Series A financing round in February 2022 also attracted investments from Seven Seven Six and Initialised Capital.
The NWSL's growing value was further highlighted by the recent announcement of Boston being awarded the league's latest expansion franchise spot. The Boston consortium is set to pay a hefty $53 million expansion fee, a substantial increase compared to the fees of $2 million to $5 million paid for expansion franchises in 2020.
Despite these impressive valuations, it's worth noting that all 12 NWSL teams are still operating at a financial loss, a situation mirrored by many teams in MLS and the Premier League.
There are two NWSL teams currently on the market, the Portland Thorns (fourth in Sportico’s rankings with a valuation of $65 million) and OL Reign (eighth with $49 million), hope to secure new owners by the end of the year. These developments signal a promising future for women's soccer and the NWSL as a thriving and valuable league.