In the summer of 2022, four USWNT legends sprung into action to unlock what might go down in history as Aly Wagner’s greatest assist. After retiring as a professional soccer player, Wagner advocated for the launch of an NWSL team in the San Francisco Bay Area, presenting to Charlotte Waxman, the wife of Sixth Street CEO Alan Waxman. Her eloquent sales pitch resulted in the Waxmans investing $125 million in the venture – the largest institutional investment in women’s soccer to date.
The ownership group, so-called the ‘Founding Four’, consists of Wagner, Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osbourne and Danielle Slaton, each of whom boasts impressive soccer backgrounds and a connection to Santa Clara University. Other notable names joining the group include Sheryl Sandberg and her husband Tom Bernthal, ex-Golden State Warriors President and COO Rick Welts, and San Francisco Giants VP of Communications, Staci Slaughter. This illustrious team thus brings together all elements of business shrewdness, investment know-how and sports excellence.
Sixth Street’s groundbreaking investment will be split into a $53 million expansion fee, and the remainder to fund a training facility and buildout of team infrastructure and staff. The team’s home venue has yet to be announced, with Wagner, Chastain, Osbourne, and Slaton all helping with the search.
What prompted Waxman’s financial injection? He noted that the advent of streaming services meant it is much easier to access women’s soccer games than it was 10 years ago. Plus, with the rise of social media, marketing partnerships and sponsorships became even more viable and desirable. These advancements made investing in a women’s soccer team appear far more feasible than it did in the past.
Waxman and his team are chasing an end goal that goes beyond just the financial – they are determined to grow the women’s soccer ecosystem, particularly within the Bay Area. The team has managed to attract an amazing array of investors who will be instrumental in achieving this. The potential that this bay area venture holds is phenomenal and it looks set to go down as Wagner’s greatest assist.