Reign FC's Sale To OL Group Seen As Big Win For NWSL
NWSL club Reign FC has "entered into exclusive negotiations to sell the club to OL Group," the parent company of Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais, according to Scott Hanson of the SEATTLE TIMES. Current Reign FC majority Owners Teresa and Bill Predmore will "retain a minority stake" in the club, and Bill Predmore will "continue to serve" as Reign FC CEO. The Predmores "took on minority investors when the team moved to Tacoma in January: Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer and his mother, Lenora, and Tacoma Soccer Ventures." The minority investors "will not have a stake if the sale is completed" (SEATTLE TIMES, 11/26). The AP noted the transaction is "expected to be completed on Jan. 31." The NWSL club will "continue to play at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma." Olympique Lyonnais, also known as Lyon, will "assume control of Reign Academy as part of the deal" (AP, 11/25).
DETAILS TO COME: Bill Predmore last night said that he felt 100% "confident about the team’s future in Washington." THE ATHLETIC's Megan Linehan notes there are "no conversations being held with Lyon about potentially moving the team." Reign FC "still anticipate partnering with the Sounders," and will "continue their involvement in the development of a soccer-specific stadium in Tacoma." It is "too early for answers on how the two brands could potentially coexist." Predmore: “It’s going to be difficult and probably foolish for me to predict exactly what that evolution is going to look like.” Reign FC now has the "potential to lead the NWSL for investment into the roster under the new salary cap, as well as maximize the assistance for player housing and other needs." For an independent club "without the resources or infrastructure of an existing MLS brand, it appears to be a win-win for the Predmores and Reign FC, a club with grander ambitions." Lyon’s brand recognition "won’t hurt" the NWSL's current media rights negotiations, and it will be a "huge boost as the league tries to maximize the return on international linear and digital rights." Lyon will be "spending serious money on women’s soccer, and the fact that they’ve chosen to invest in the United States is a big win for the NWSL" (THEATHLETIC.com, 11/26).