NWSL expansion updates from Boston
The GIST: Boston is baking an NWSL treat. The all-woman investor group behind the city’s expansion bid went public with its plans on Monday after becoming one of three finalists — alongside San Francisco and Tampa — to land the league’s 14th franchise, and before the league makes its final call next month.
The group: The city’s bid is led by Jennifer Epstein, founder of local investment firm Juno Equity. Flybridge Capital general partner Anna Palmer, angel investor Stephanie Connaughton and Women’s Foundation of Boston co-founder and CFO Ami Kuan Danoff are the group’s managing partners. Talk about a stacked roster.
- Epstein said Boston-based sports team owners and athletes are also in the group, which reportedly includes Boston Globe Media CEO and MLB’s Boston Red Sox co-owner Linda Henry.
The location: White Stadium in Franklin Park is the current frontrunner to host a possible NWSL team, but the 10.5K-seater is a fixer-upper. The city “has only begun to think about how to find the resources” to add stadium renovation to the proposed $23 million facelift to Boston’s largest public park, which includes improved public transportation to the area.
- Mayor Michelle Wu also name-dropped East Boston’s Memorial Stadium as a possible host, but the 4.3K-seater is even smaller than White Stadium.
Zooming out: In the NWSL’s most competitive expansion search to date, facilities are a make-or-break category that puts the Boston bid at a disadvantage, especially compared to San Francisco’s proposal, which would likely see the team play at 18K-seater PayPal Park in nearby San Jose. Location, location, location.