Feb 15, 2022 - Sports

Women's pro teams would generate millions

The Washington Spirit soccer team celebrates a victory at the NWSL Championship match.
The Washington Spirit soccer team celebrates a victory at the NWSL Championship match. Photo: Jamie Rhodes/USA Today Sports

Bringing a women's professional sports franchise to Nashville would pump millions of dollars into the local economy, per new details in a consultant's report released last week.

  • A WNBA franchise would generate $9.9 million in annual direct spending, according to an estimate by CAA Icon, the consultant hired by the Metro Nashville Sports Authority's women's professional sports initiative.
  • A National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team would bring in $6.1 million annually.

Why it matters: These financial estimates are the latest piece of validation for an ambitious effort to help Nashville secure its first women's pro team.

  • An earlier report by CAA Icon showed Nashville has the community and corporate support necessary to support at least one women's team. Surveys showed the WNBA and NWSL had the most support.
  • Advocates say attracting a women's pro team is a matter of equity for a city that has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in constructing stadiums and providing taxpayer incentives to men's sports.

What she's saying: Metro Councilmember Nancy VanReece says the women's professional sports initiative has given city leaders proof of concept, and that a WNBA and an NWSL franchise would be supported.

  • Now comes the hard work of attracting "the right ownership groups," VanReece tells Axios.
  • "We need one, a market (that would support a franchise); two, a venue (for the team to play); and three, passionate ownership," VanReece says. "We have the data to establish one and two are in place. Now is the time to move this information into action."

What's next: CAA Icon will present its final report, including possible next steps on identifying ownership groups and talking directly to the WNBA and NWSL, at the full sports authority meeting Thursday.

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