San Diego Wave sells for an NWSL-record $120 million

Principal owner of the NWSL’s San Diego Wave, Ron Burkle, has made plans to sell the club to the Levine Leichtman family at a record-breaking price of $120 million, including a $113 million cash outlay. 

Lauren Leichtman and her husband, Arthur Levine, agreed to pay $35 million now for 35% of the team and have agreed to buy the other 65% for $78 million after the 2024 season, according to The Athletic. The sources were granted anonymity because the details of the deal are still private.

While the deal averages $113 million, its valuation in the later transaction is $120 million which is nearly double the previous outlay of $63 million paid by the Bhathal family earlier this year for the Portland Thorns.

“We are proud of the unprecedented success we have had as an expansion team, and I am confident that [the Levine Leichtman] family’s investment will contribute to the growth of our team and the San Diego community,” Burkle told Sportico in a statement.

Burkle, who paid a $2 million expansion fee when the Wave joined the NWSL fewer than three years ago, will remain as the principal owner of the team through the end of the 2024 season as part of the deal.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Levine Leichtman family to the ownership group of the San Diego Wave,” NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said in a statement to The Athletic. “As longtime supporters of the women’s game, Arthur and Lauren know well the impact that our league can have in our society, and as savvy investors, understand the opportunities in front of us to continue to grow our league and club businesses.”

The news of the sale comes just two days before the 2024 NWSL season officially kicks off on Saturday, Mar. 16. Preseason begins as Gotham FC and San Diego Wave face off in the NWSL Challenge Cup tomorrow at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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