Mercury 13 acquires England’s second-division women’s soccer team Lewes FC
The GIST: A new group has entered the chat, poised to revolutionize women’s soccer. On Thursday, Mercury 13, a newly formed company with a $100M women’s soccer investment fund, announced its first acquisition will be England’s second-division women’s team Lewes FC.
- The acquisition is thought to be the first of many as the investment fund looks to capitalize on the growing success of women’s soccer. Smart business.
The fund: Mercury 13, named after the 13 women pilots who were excluded by NASA due to their gender, is a holding company that’s launched a $100M fund (raised from European family offices and former pro soccer players) to acquire controlling stakes in women’s football clubs across Europe and Latin America. Give ’em the whole world.
- The group, led by Victoire Cogevina Reynal, a VP at OneFootball, is made up of soccer execs and former players — including former CPO and CMO of StatsPerform Nancy Hensley.
The team: Mercury 13’s first acquisition is already on the right track. In 2017, Lewes FC became the first English club to pay their men’s and women’s teams equal wages — attendance and sponsorship have grown by 20x since. The numbers speak for themselves.
- As far as team valuations go, earlier this month, a group of Chicago businesswomen and civic leaders put in a bid for the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars that valued the club at up to $35.5M.
- Early last year, the Washington Spirit sold for a record $35M, and in April 2021, the highly-anticipated new club Angel City FC had a $115M valuation before the club had even signed its first player.
- And while Mercury 13 will focus on European and South American women’s teams, given the NWSL’s rapid escalation in valuations, Reynal says expanding to the U.S. is not out of the question.
Zooming out: Women’s soccer continues to pay dividends. For example, when Visa became an official USWNT partner in 2019, the company saw a 2,700% increase in brand engagement and affinity in the same year, while USWNT jersey sponsor Nike also notched a 500% increase in women’s jersey sales that year.