O’Melveny Guides Clients in Securing National Women’s Soccer League Expansion Slot in Kansas City12월 07, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES—December 7, 2020—O’Melveny helped guide an ownership group led by wife and husband team Angie and Chris Long in their successful bid to bring a National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team to Kansas City. The official announcement welcoming the team into the League as its twelfth expansion team was made this morning and can be viewed here. The team will begin play in 2021.
O’Melveny represented the Longs in securing the exclusive right to bring a professional women’s soccer team to Kansas City and related equity financing. The transaction follows the winding down of operations by the Utah Royals FC. All player rights, draft picks, and certain other assets formerly held by Utah Royals FC will be transferred to the new team in Kansas City.
The Longs have achieved standout success in the financial sector, both individually and as a team with Kansas City-based Palmer Square Capital Management, where Angie serves as chief investment officer and Chris as CEO. They lead an ownership group comprised mostly of female industry leaders, including marketing and creative executive Jen Gulvik, who serves as the new NWSL Kansas City Team president, and former professional soccer player and fitness entrepreneur, Brittany Matthews.
This is the second National Women’s Soccer League transaction handled by O’Melveny in the past 60 days. In October, the firm represented Angel City Football Club in their quest to bring a team to Los Angeles.
“We are honored to represent the Long family in this transformative deal for women’s soccer and the local Kansas City fan base,” said O’Melveny partner and Sports Industry Group co-chair Charles (Chuck) Baker, who is leading the firm’s work for the team, along with O’Melveny counsel Eric Geffner.
“Women’s soccer is one of the fastest growing sports both in this country and around the world, and we are inspired by its unstoppable momentum,” added Geffner. “We congratulate the Longs on their successful effort to bring the game back to Kansas City.”
In addition to Baker and Geffner, the O’Melveny team representing the Long family also included associate Luisa Lizoain.
O’Melveny’s Sports Industry Group handles many of the legal matters that draw coverage in sports pages everywhere—billion-dollar acquisitions and dispositions of professional sports teams; cutting-edge media and licensing arrangements; stadium development, financings and naming rights; sponsorships and endorsements; strategic joint ventures; and high profile litigation and other disputes.
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The following release was issued by the National Women’s Soccer League:
Kansas City returns to the NWSL as expansion team in 2021
Majority-women ownership group will return the world’s best women’s club soccer to one of the country’s great soccer communities
CHICAGO (December 07, 2020) – The National Women’s Soccer League announced today that its board of governors approved an expansion team in Kansas City to begin play in 2021 and an ownership group led by wife and husband team Angie and Chris Long. The move follows the winding down of operations by the Utah Royals FC. All player rights, draft picks, and certain other assets formerly held by Utah Royals FC will be transferred to the new team in Kansas City.
The Longs have achieved standout success in the financial sector, both individually and as a team with Kansas City-based Palmer Square Capital Management, where Angie serves as chief investment officer and Chris as CEO.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our league, and I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Kansas City back to the NWSL,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “Kansas City is a soccer-rich community, and this fantastic ownership group is ready and able to commit the resources necessary for this club to be a massive success. I’d also like to thank the fans in Utah for their incredible support of the NWSL.”
“Chris and I could not be more ecstatic to welcome a team back to Kansas City, especially as the league has been transformed by innovative leadership and explosive growth. We are committed to getting this right – for our team and our town,” said Angie Long. “We can’t wait for the players and the country to see what we have long known: there’s something special about living in Kansas City and something even more special about playing here.”
The Longs lead an ownership group comprised mostly of female industry leaders, including marketing and creative executive Jen Gulvik, who serves as the new NWSL Kansas City Team president, and former professional soccer player and fitness entrepreneur, Brittany Matthews.
“As a former collegiate and professional soccer player, I have a true level of appreciation for what these incredible women do on a daily basis. I am honored to be part of an amazing ownership group that is passionate about the game and eager to welcome a NWSL team back to Kansas City,” said Matthews. “We have the greatest fans and community here in KC and I can’t wait to huddle around this team – we want more championship parades in the very near future!”
As one of their first management decisions, the Longs have named former FC Kansas City General Manager Huw Williams as head coach of the new NWSL Kansas City club. Williams was part of the FCKC leadership team that won back-to-back NWSL championships in 2014 and 2015; working hand-in-hand with then FCKC head coach, now USWNT head coach, Vlatko Andonovski.
“We have had the privilege of seeing firsthand how Huw builds a winning culture, inspiring teams with not only his work ethic and technical expertise, but with his intense love of the game and commitment to excellence,” said Chris Long. “He is already hard at work and will be a great leader for the club.”
“I’m thrilled and humbled to have earned the trust of the Long family and their ownership group, and look forward to representing our city and our players in the NWSL. I’ve long admired Angie and Chris not only professionally, but as friends. They bring a drive to succeed and a commitment to providing all the tools we need to deliver for our players and their fans,” said Coach Williams, “I’m excited to work with all the players, and to reconnect with those I already know. In a league full of talent, it’s no surprise this roster is stacked with incredible athletes. I can’t wait to get started.”
The NWSL Kansas City club will have further public announcements related to its name, branding, and training and competition venues, in the coming weeks. For more information, visit www.kcwoso.com.