Sports Business : Serena Williams, Natalie Portman and 14 others join hands to fund new sports team

A group including Serena Williams will fund a new Los Angeles-based women’s team to launch in time for the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League season.

Tennis great Williams joins several other high-profile women, including Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, in founding the female-majority group.

The team name and home venue are yet to be decided, but the ownership group has called itself ‘Angel City’.

There is currently no California-based team in the NWSL.

NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird says the league has “long sought” an LA-based team, which already has a “massive” interest in women’s football.

LA based Women Soccer League team, Serena’s daughter also listed as owner

The founding of the team follows, according to the NWSL, a fan-driven demand for not just a women’s team in the region but also a team founded by powerful and influential women within the sports, tech, and media industries.

“I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group working to bring a women’s professional football club to Los Angeles. Chiefly, because I’m a fan of the game, but also because I believe there is massive potential for the sport and it’s been undervalued by too many people for far too long,” said Ohanian in a statement. “As someone who spends hours kicking around a football with my two-year-old daughter, I want her to have a front row seat to this revolution. I’m personally investing on behalf of my family because creating more opportunities in women’s sports is important to my wife and me, and we want to be a part of making a better future for our daughter.” 

Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of tech company Reddit is part of the ownership group. The couple’s two-year-old daughter Olympia is also listed as an owner.

Among the group too are 14 former US national team players, actresses Eva Longoria, Jennifer Garner, Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain and America Ferrera, plus investors from the technology and media sectors.

“We come together with a collective passion for bringing about change,” added the consortium’s co-founder and president Julie Uhrman, who is a media and gaming entrepreneur.

“Change for our players, change for our fans, and change for our community. Change that begins today.”