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Kassouf: Which NWSL teams offer the best return on investment?

Three of 12 active NWSL teams are for sale, and they might all be better deals than the inflating expansion fees the league is securing. Each situation, however, has inherent challenges.

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Jeff Kassouf’s weekly column is available exclusively for subscribers. Each week, you’ll get a mix of in-depth reporting and analysis on pressing issues with the NWSL, USWNT and beyond. Click here to subscribe.

OL Reign is for sale. The news came in a twisted, backhanded fashion as the OL Groupe responded to a report that Michele Kang — who already owns the Washington Spirit — was set to take over majority control of the Olympique Lyonnais women’s team.

Actually, we’re selling our other team. That was the gist of the rebuttal to L’Equipe’s reporting last week.

The timing of the announcement apparently caught those in Seattle by surprise, but the actual news is not all that shocking given the brief history and shelf life of the arrangement. The bigger picture for the National Women’s Soccer League is this: the Reign join Portland Thorns FC and the Chicago Red Stars as teams actively for sale. That is one quarter of the league’s active teams on the market right now. Utah Royals FC will rejoin the league in 2024 alongside a team in California’s Bay Area. The latter paid a $53 million fee to join the league, as has a yet-to-be-confirmed group from Boston who will join the league at some point in the future.

Plenty of investors want in on the action. Their possible entry points into the league represent an intriguing even if temporary imbalance.

To say that the tides are turning in the NWSL is to operate in the recent past; the inflection point already came. What we are witnessing is the dam burst of NWSL version 1.0 into the next phase of the league’s existence.

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