Timeline: Five weeks that changed the NWSL

Since shortly before the NWSL championship game five weeks ago, the league and its clubs have made a series of ground-breaking announcements that signal their heightened ambitions.

Oct. 21. NWSL brings in Octagon to devise media and marketing strategy.

Octagon, one of the largest sports agencies in the world with extensive background in women's sports, will provide comprehensive media rights valuation and sales strategy services and -- most important -- advice on finding a new media partner. It will also assist the NWSL with brand marketing, asset development, sponsorship valuation and fan engagement insights.

Oct. 22.
Louisville introduced as an expansion team to begin play in 2021.

John Neace and Soccer Holdings LLC -- the owners of the USL Championship's Louisville City -- will operate the team, later named Proof Louisville FC. It will play at the 14,000-seat Lynn Family Stadium that Louisville City is building in the Butchertown neighborhood and will open in 2020.

Nov. 1.
NWSL increases salary cap to $650,000 and introduces $300,000 in allocation money.

The 2020 salary cap will be up from $421,500 in 2019 and $350,000 in 2018. The allocation money can be spent on players other than U.S. and Canadian allocated players and be used to pay for their salaries in excess of its salary cap over the new league maximum salary of $50,000 or pay for transfer fees for the first time.

Nov. 13.
The Washington Spirit will split its 2020 schedule at three sites, including D.C. United's Audi Field.

Buoyed by the success of its two games played at Audi Field in 2019, the Spirit reached an agreement with D.C. United to split its 2020 NWSL schedule between Audi Field, the Maryland SoccerPlex, its home since the NWSL started in 2013, and Segra Field, which opened in 2019 as the home of Loudoun United, D.C. United's new USL Championship team.

Nov. 18. 
Sky Blue FC will play all its 2020 NWSL home games at Red Bull Arena.

In the most significant demonstration of its intention to turn a page on its troubled past at at Rutgers University's Yurcak Field, its home for 10 years, Sky Blue FC announced it will move into the home of MLS's New York Red Bulls, in Harrison, N.J., where it drew crowds of 9,415 and 8,314 fans for matches late in the 2019 NWSL season.

Nov. 25.  Women's giant Lyon announces it is in exclusive talks to buy the NWSL's Reign FC.

OL Groupe -- the investment firm of which Jean-Michel Aulas is the majority owner -- is expected to close the deal in January. Majority owners Teresa Predmore and Bill Predmore, who have operated the team since the launch of the NWSL in 2013, would remain as minority owners.

2 comments about "Timeline: Five weeks that changed the NWSL".
  1. R2 Dad, November 26, 2019 at 9:12 a.m.

    Great to see all this activity on the women's side. Regarding Octogon's strategy, the idea must be to maximize owner value and encourage a roll-up strategy similar to the City Football Group play. This makes sense for the ownership groups, but a better strategy to improve quality of play and utility of player pool would be to align NWSL with A League ownership. Their seasons are opposites (NWSL- April to October, A - November to March). 
    Does this not offer the women enough rest between seasons? Is one of these two groups too obstinate to work with? Anyone have any thoughts about this?
    Still waiting to see a team in San Francisco. 

  2. Alvaro Bettucchi, November 26, 2019 at 2:15 p.m.

    Forget San Francisco!  The local media does not support Soccer in the Bay Area, except in San Jose. The Quakes rarely get coverage, other than MLS scores, A San Francisco MLS Second Divison team even won the champioship last year, where we had to dig to fine the schedule, and they folded!  And I just found out that Pro Soccer (thanks to Soccer America) has been playing in the East Bay for quite some time, and no one in our area even knew about it.  Until these old sport journalist retire, and we get a new crop that have grown up in todays enviornment of sports, we do not have a chance!

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