Angel City to get new majority shareholder as club valuation hits $300m

July 5 – Los Angeles women’s club Angel City, that plays in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), is set to have a new majority owner that would value the club at about $300 million.

Angel City began creating waves in 2020, when the NWSL announced that Los Angeles would be awarded an expansion franchise for the 2022 season and that it would be the first club under a majority female ownership group led by actress Natalie Portman, venture capitalist Kara Nortman, entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, and venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian.

Now Disney CEO Bob Iger and Willow Bay, the Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California are in the final stages of buying the stake held by Reddit co-founder Ohanian for a reported $50 million.

The $300 million valuation is a spicy multiple of the $31 million LAFC reported as revenue last year, but also reflects an investor surge into US women’s pro-club ownership with some big numbers being paid to buy position.

The San Diego Wave were sold for a league record $113 million in March, following on from the sale of the Portland Thorns in January for $63 million. Bay FC who launched this year paid a franchise fee of $53 million, the same that has been paid for a new franchise in Boston.

The Chicago Red Stars sold for £35.5 million in 2023, while the Seattle Reign completed a $58 million sale in June.

With club valuations looking rocket propelled, do the club revenues, or more importantly the revenue growth potential, support them?

Angels FC lead the NWSL in terms of commercial revenue and are almost double their nearest rival San Diego Wave. Angels FC have $55 million of revenue booked through 2025, but they are limited in their stadium revenues by their deal with the MLS side for use of the BMO Stadium in the Exposition Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

A new stadium of their own could open up that revenue stream but so far their infrastructure development has been limited to talk about building their own training facility.

However, the new centralised broadcast deal for the NWSL could prove to be the platform gamechanger for the other revenue streams.

The NWSL agreed a four-year $240 million domestic broadcast deal with ESPN, CBS, Amazon, and Scripps Sports that ends with the 2027 season. It’s a deal that is 40 times larger than the previous broadcast deal.

The NWSL has become a league that is no stranger to eye-watering financial multiples.

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