Women's Football: Why OL Group's acquisition of Reign FC shows talk is cheap in women's football

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OL Group’s recent acquisition of MLS side Reign FC provides a unique look at investors in women’s football.

In fact, it has given us an incredible insight into women’s football clubs and the seemingly complex relationship between clubs and potential investors in the game. 

Reign FC has been part of the MLS women’s division in the US since the league's foundation and was the first club to offer Megan Rapinoe a professional contract.

OL Group became majority stakeholders of Reign FC when they bought an 89.5% stake in the club from now minority stakeholders, Bill and Teresa Predmore.

Brace yourselves for how much this 89.5% share set OL Group back…

$3.51 million!

For context, this is roughly the same amount it would cost to employ Wayne Rooney in the MLS for one year… ONE year.

Now, clearly OL Group buying a majority share in the club is yet another sign of their support for women’s football. They are also the owners of European Champions Lyon, arguably the biggest club in the women’s game.

But, it does suggest that the investment that women’s football is crying out for is not expected at astronomical levels.

Tony Parker, an NBA legend who earned over $5million in his last year as a basketball player bought a three per cent share of Reign for an estimated $117,653.63.

Manchester City was recently valued at around £2.364bn, so a three per cent share in the Premier League Champions would set you back over £70m.

This transaction shows that the level of investment required from people of means for the women’s game to accelerate and grow is relatively low. OL Group has shown just how much, or little, it would take for Megan Rapinoe to continue playing professionally, she believes, for five more years.

The acquisition shines a rather uncomfortable light on those who have spoken a lot about their willingness to help grow women’s football, yet have not taken affirmative action.

OL Group’s acquisition was relatively affordable and yet they will have opened up huge opportunities for young footballers looking to turn professional. Potentially even opening up more room for another Carli Lloyd, Lucy Bronze or Megan Rapinoe to make it as a professional footballer.

So next time brands or individuals offer lipservice about their belief in women's football or the investment they are prepared to offer, just remember the numbers we are talking about. And how low they really are.

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