If there’s one thing we know about Golden State Warriors legend Andre Iguodala, it’s that he loves two things: sports, and investing in new companies.
So it should be no surprise that he found a way to combine those loves once again. Just a few days ago, exciting news broke that the newest expansion team in the rapidly-growing NWSL will be in Northern California: Bay FC. And when the club officially launched on Saturday, Iguodala was there as part of the investment group — news that he proudly advertised on social media.
It’s not yet known what other celebrities are part of the investment group, but Bay FC has an exciting base. The franchise is co-founded by four former US Women’s National Team players — Aly Wagner, Danielle Slaton, Leslie Osborne, and the woman behind the most famous moment in US soccer history, Brandi Chastain. Three of those four were born in San Jose, and all four attended Santa Clara, a women’s soccer powerhouse.
Bay FC has a lead investment from Sixth Street, a San Francisco-based firm that also has investments in popular sports teams like the San Antonio Spurs and FC Barcelona, as well as successful companies like Spotify and Airbnb. Sixth Street reportedly invested $125 million into the franchise, with $53 million of that covering the expansion fee.
Iguodala brings a name that is famous in both the sports world and the Bay Area, and he also adds championship pedigree: he’s won four titles with the Warriors, and has an NBA Finals MVP trophy on his shelf. It’s also not his first foray into soccer investments, as he has a stake in Leeds United FC in the English Premier League. Hopefully he’s as hands on as some investors ... I recently attended my first NWSL game in Los Angeles and saw numerous people from the investment group in attendance ... including Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner, and Mia Hamm.
The NWSL, which was founded in 2013, currently has 12 teams: Angel City FC (Los Angeles), Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, Kansas City Current, NJ/NY Gotham FC, North Carolina Courage, OL Reign (Seattle), Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Racing Louisville FC, San Diego Wave FC, and Washington Spirit. Bay FC and Utah Royals FC will join the league for the 2024 season. The league has seen a surge in popularity in the last few years.
Bay FC has not yet revealed where they will play their games, though all of their branding seems to be focused around San Francisco. They are expected to announce their CEO sometime this week.
A women’s soccer team coming to the Bay Area is an exciting thing, and Iguodala investing in sports — and women’s sports in particular — is awesome. Go to a game, everyone!