SC STL STATES INTENTION TO EXPLORE NATIONAL WOMEN'S SOCCER LEAGUE EXPANSION CLUB
Passage of Propositions 1 and 2 Could Pave Way For NWSL Soccer in Downtown St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, March 30, 2017 - SC STL, the ownership group working to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to St. Louis, today announced that if Propositions 1 and 2 are each passed next week, it will explore the potential of attracting a National Women's Soccer League expansion club.
Members of the ownership group held preliminary discussions with the United States Soccer Federation this week to learn more about the league's history, growth and long-range plans, and whether an expansion club based in St. Louis might be a possibility should Propositions 1 and 2 be approved by city voters on Tuesday. The United States Soccer Federation led the charge to launch NWSL and continues to support the league, which will celebrate its fifth anniversary when the new season begins April 15.
The NWSL plays a 24-game regular-season schedule, with each team playing 12 home and 12 away games. When adding exhibition matches and playoffs, an NWSL team could mean as many as 15 additional events to the proposed multipurpose stadium just west of St. Louis Union Station.
"If our group were to operate an NWSL expansion team, we feel strongly that the team must play downtown in the new stadium along with a companion Major League Soccer team that we hope to be awarded later this year," said Jim Kavanaugh, SC STL vice chair. "Of course, it will require passage of Props 1 and 2 on Tuesday for the stadium, an MLS team in 2020 and possibly an NWSL team to all become reality. Without a stadium, none of it will happen. But, it is fair to say that if we are successful on Tuesday, we will consider next steps as to the potential of bringing NWSL soccer to St. Louis."
There are more than 9,400 registered female soccer players between the ages of 3 and 19 in the Eastern District of the Missouri Youth Soccer Association, plus thousands more who participate in CYC and various municipal programs.
Becky Sauerbrunn, the co-captain of the U.S. Women's National Team and graduate of Ladue High School, plays for FC Kansas City of the NWSL. Recently retired Lori Chalupny, a graduate of Nerinx Hall High School and former USWNT star, played in the league for the Chicago Red Stars.
"NWSL is proving to be both sustainable and promising," said Dan Flynn, secretary general and CEO of the United States Soccer Federation. "We have a number of success stories such as the Portland Thorns, who draw around 16,000 fans per game, and a new television deal and equity partner with A+E Networks. Recalling that our U.S. Women's National Team drew 35,000 fans to downtown St. Louis two years ago, I think an NWSL team in St. Louis would have potential for success in the new stadium."
Seventeen members on the U.S. Women's National Team's current roster - including Sauerbrunn - play in NWSL, a 10-team Division-I women's professional soccer league set to kick off an historic fifth season in 2017 with support from the United States Soccer Federation and Canadian Soccer Association. Last month, the NWSL and A+E Networks entered into an historic partnership whereby A+E Networks will become the league's newest investor with an equity stake in the league, joining the existing team ownership groups.
NWSL Media, the new joint venture between the NWSL and A+E Networks, will act as the media and commercial arm of the league, overseeing all of its global broadcast and sponsorship rights. In addition, NWSL Media will manage all digital assets for the NWSL including a re-designed NWSLSoccer.com, a new NWSL app on iOS and Android, and the league's social media platforms.
NWSL Media will oversee the live streaming of all matches and produce the games in high definition with a consistent, state-of-the-art approach that will include exclusive new and original digital content for pre-game, halftime and post-game segments. The joint venture is currently negotiating with potential partners to stream the games not broadcast on Lifetime.
Lifetime, the premier entertainment destination for women, is making an unprecedented commitment with a three-year agreement to be the official broadcast partner. For the first time in NWSL's history, a league game will be broadcast on television every weekend of the season. The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will provide fans throughout the country with a live viewing platform every Saturday at 4 p.m. ET to watch the best players in the world. A pre-game show will kick off each weekly event at 3:30 p.m. ET. Showcasing the network's sponsorship and commitment to the league, Lifetime will be featured on all official jerseys with a patch on the right sleeve.