Mercury 13 fund launched with $100m and mission to buy women’s clubs

August 21 – A new $100 million investment fund targeted at acquiring women’s football clubs in Europe and South America has been launched by tech entrepreneur Victoire Cogevina Reynal.

The newly formed Mercury 13 – named after a group of female pilots who weren’t allowed to join NASA’s astronaut programme – said it is already nearing several potential deals in Europe on the way to creating a women’s multi-club ownership group.

Cogevina Reynal said she is close to closing a deal in England with deals in Spain and Italy to follow. One of the obstructions to buying women’s teams is, particularly in Europe, they are owned and managed as part of men’s clubs. Few women’s teams run at a profit.

In the US there are signs that there is a growing market for women’s club ownership with the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars recently being traded to a group led by Chicago Cubs owner Laura Ricketts for a reported $35.5 million. The new San Francisco Bay area franchise in the NWSL that will kick off in 2024 reportedly cost in the region of $50 million.

Cogevina Reynal is a US-born Greek–Argentine businesswoman who has long been an advocate of gender equality within football and is a co-founder of soccer app Gloria. She also started the first sports agency managed only by women – SR All Stars – and is a VP of German-based streaming platform OneFootball.

With the FIFA World Cup having generated $570 million in revenue, the very obvious signs are that the Women’s game is on an upward financial trajectory. However, even with a 60% increase taking revenue to $41 million for  England’s WSL in the 2020/21 season, club values will lag way behind. Though the flip side is that now could be the smart time to buy into women’s club ownership.

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