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Bay Area Boom

Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner—known as the Founding Football Four—are legends in the world of women’s soccer. They have been involved in just about every aspect of the game, made history winning countless championships and trophies, and helped put the sport on the map. But there was one position they hadn’t played yet: team owner.
That all changed when the National Women’s Soccer League announced an expansion franchise in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

The popularity of women’s soccer has been growing rapidly in the U.S. The Bay Area is a hotbed for the sport … and it also happens to be the place the Founding Football Four call home. An expansion franchise seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand their own involvement in the game’s future.

The deal was also unique because of who else was involved. Sixth Street, a major private equity firm, joined the ownership bid. It was the first time institutional investment like this had come to women’s soccer in the U.S., and it signaled a significant shift in focus on the sport in the country.

But for the Founding Football Four, it wasn’t enough to own a piece of a highly valued franchise in a growing league. They wanted to extend their passion and excitement for the sport into their community.

Loeb & Loeb got right to work helping them negotiate what would become unique agreements covering their roles with the team. In addition to a traditional ownership component, each woman’s agreement promised her an important ambassadorial role with the team and beyond, working closely with Sixth Street to set the team’s overall direction. There would be no passive ownership here.

We negotiated their agreements so that they cemented their roles as the faces of the franchise and as forces in the community, helping the Bay Area feel the same level of excitement and passion they felt for the game.

What better way to grow women’s sports than to have four of the most recognized athletes actively engaging with the community?

At the end of a lengthy and complex negotiation, the Founding Football Four had done it. They would continue to play a pivotal role in the further growth of women’s soccer.

As Bay FC, the name the team ultimately took, came together, the women had the opportunity to play new positions as owners and continue their legacies as champions of the sport.

More than that, the Founding Football Four had made history again! Bay FC had a franchise value of $53 million—the highest valuation of any women’s professional soccer franchise to that point. Loeb & Loeb was proud to be a part of the team that helped make this a reality.