Ms. Kang’s influence grew rapidly amid a wave of new investment and increased interest in women’s sports.
In the summer of 2020, an eclectic group of owners including actors Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria, soccer legend Mia Haim, and tennis great Serena Williams announced the creation of a team in Los Angeles, Angel City FC, which made its debut in Los Angeles. 2022, along with another expansion club, the San Diego Wave. An additional club, Racing Louisville FC, joined the league in 2021, and the Utah Royals were sold and their assets transferred to a new franchise in Kansas City, The Current. The 2024 season will see the Utah Royals added back to the NWSL along with another expansion club, Bay FC. The league, now in its 11th season, is already considering further expansion.
None of this comes as a surprise to Ms. Kang, who is not dismayed by how someone could underestimate the women’s professional soccer league, or why investment has been delayed.
“I give full credit to the people who led the teams,” she continued, talking about past NWSL owners. “But it was being viewed as a charity or non-profit, and business discipline was not enforced from where I’m standing.”
Natalie L., associate professor of sport management at East Tennessee State University who studies women’s soccer. This attitude, Smith said, signals legitimacy in a unique way.
If Angel City signals legitimacy through celebrity, he said, Ms. Kang signals value through business investment, which also sends a message to other potential investors.
The moves come amid two changes in the world of football, said Stephen Szymanski, an economist at the University of Michigan and co-author of “soccernomics, “One is clearly the rise of women’s football, which has been long overdue and is progressing quite rapidly at the moment. Second, there is a change in the ownership and management of clubs in football around the world in general.