It was announced this year that the NWSL was planning to expand from 12 to 14 teams. One of those teams is almost certainly going to be a reincarnation of the Utah Royals after they dissolved in 2020. Now it has been revealed that the search for a 14th team has come down to three NWSL expansion cities. Here is a look at what each city’s bid could look like before the league makes a final decision.
Three NWSL Expansion Cities That Could Become the 14th Team
Breaking: The NWSL is choosing between three cities for its 14th expansion team:
– San Francisco
The highest initial bid is well over $40M, a significant bump from the $2- to $5-million price tags that came with new NWSL clubs as recently as two years ago. pic.twitter.com/3y2YhGYtQp
— Sportico (@Sportico) December 16, 2022
Boston is no stranger to the NWSL. The Boston Breakers were a founding member of NWSL. However, they folded just before the 2018 season. The Boston bid is led by a group of female investors. Some notable names include venture capitalist Anna Palmer and Red Sox and Liverpool co-owner Linda Henry. Henry is the wife of John Henry who has made several investments in sports through the Fenway Sports Group. This combined with an existing brand and eager fanbase may be why Boston has made the shortlist for expansion.
Tampa, Florida is another expansion bid that seemed to come out of nowhere. Florida has a team in NWSL currently with the Orlando Pride. The bid for Tampa is led by Stuart Sternberg. Sternberg is the majority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays. So, much like Boston, the potential owners already have a stake in the city’s sports franchises.
The group vying to bring soccer to the Bay Area is also led by prominent female investors. They were one of the first bids to be reported on when expansion talks began. Along with the backing of private equity firm Sixth Street are some former USWNT legends like Aly Wagner and Brandi Chastain. Despite the report saying the bid would be in San Francisco, the team will most likely play in San Jose with a possible affiliation with the Earthquakes of MLS.
READ MORE: Potential NWSL Expansion Bids for 2024
Three NWSL Expansion Cities Overview
As the offseason rolls along, these three NWSL expansion cities add some much-needed excitement to the news. All three would make great options in my opinion and each has unique reasons to be part of this growing league. There are many obvious glaring problems that unfortunately have nothing to do with the game we love, but, these are genuine and exciting twists that could impact the league for the better.