Amateur team Minnesota Aurora is talking to investing to investors about jumping to a professional league
The GIST: Minnesota Aurora FC is turning things up a notch. Just months after completing its first season, the pre-professional women’s soccer club is exploring the idea of going pro.
The club: Aurora is a community-owned club that plays in the USL W League, a third tier league in U.S. women’s soccer that has no affiliation with the NWSL. The club has more than 3K investors and boasts 3K season ticket holders at 6K-seater TCO Stadium.
The details: According to Monday’s open letter to community owners, the club’s board has already opened conversations with prospective investors. The board is eyeing stakeholders who can contribute at least $500K, and are hunting for a majority owner to acquire at least 35% of the club in order to comply with U.S. Soccer Federation guidelines.
- The team will compete in the USL W League again in 2023, but could upgrade to the second-division USL Super League or even aim for the NWSL with more investment.
The proof: Professionalizing Aurora is happening much sooner than owners expected, thanks to an outstanding first year. The club raked in $650K in commercial revenue even before its first kickoff and averaged 5.5K fans during the 2022 season, which saw the team make a run to the championship game.
- For context, Aurora’s crowd beat three NWSL teams — the North Carolina Courage, NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Orlando Pride — in average attendance this year. Not too shabby.
The demand: The North Star State isn’t the only one building NWSL buzz this week. Sports fans in Austin, Texas are increasingly interested in adding a women’s soccer team to the fold. The city’s lone professional sports team feels the same way — MLS club Austin FC is reportedly competing in the NWSL’s ongoing expansion race.
- Austin doesn’t have a glittering track record, though. Women’s sports, from lower-tier soccer club Austin Elite to the University of Texas women’s basketball team, are reportedly struggling to attract fans.
Zooming out: Considering Aurora’s plan to go pro is in its preliminary stages, 2024’s NWSL expansion may have come too soon for the club. Still, its early success proves genuine appetite exists for women’s sports at all levels. Seize the opportunity.