The Seattle Sounders have entered into advance talks to purchase the NWSL’s OL Reign, according to multiple people familiar with the negotiations.
No agreement has been signed, and talks could still fall apart, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the details are private. Any sale agreement would also be subject to league approval.
More from Sportico.com
It’s unclear how the team, which plays Saturday in the NWSL Championship, is being valued in the current negotiations. Sportico recently valued the Reign at $49 million, 8th in the 12-team league.
A representative for OL Reign said, “OL Reign is fully focused on the NWSL Championship this weekend with a goal of bringing our first title back home to Seattle. The process on the sale of the club continues and we will share updates as they become available.”
Representatives for the Sounders and the NWSL declined to comment. Representatives for the Raine Group, which was retained to sell the club, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Reign are currently owned by John Textor’s Eagle Football, which bought the French soccer holding company OL Groupe last December. (OL Groupe, best known for the Lyon teams, purchased the Reign back in 2019 for around $3 million.) The team was put on the market earlier this year shortly after Michele Kang, owner of the NWSL’s Washington Spirit, bought the Lyon women’s team.
The Reign would be the latest NWSL team to sell at a time when league valuations are soaring. Laura Ricketts recently led a group that bought the Chicago Red Stars for $35.5 million, with a commitment to invest another $25 million into operations. The NWSL has also recently sold two expansion slots for $53 million—one in the Bay Area (majority owned by Sixth Street) and one in Boston, led by Boston Celtics minority owner Jennifer Epstein.
Majority owned by Adrian Hanauer, the Sounders have won two MLS titles and consistently rank near the top of the league in attendance. The club plays in Lumen Field, also home to the Reign and the NFL’s Seahawks, and averaged about 32,100 fans per game during the 2023 regular season. The team’s ownership group also includes Jody Allen; Drew Carey; Ken Griffey Jr. and Melissa Griffey; Tod Leiweke and Tara Leiweke; Russell Wilson and Ciara; Satya Nadella and Anu Nadella; David Nathanson and Sabina Nathanson; and rapper Macklemore.
The Reign finished the year 9-8-5, and are playing in their third NWSL championship. The team averaged 13,610 fans per game this season, fourth highest in the league.
The Reign are not the only NWSL club currently in sale talks. The Portland Thorns are also seeking a new owner, part of the fallout from a pair of investigations into misconduct within women’s soccer in the U.S. NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman has said that both the Thorns and Reign sale processes are expected to close by the end of the calendar year.
(This story has been updated to include a comment from OL Reign.)
Best of Sportico.com