The next few months could be among the most important in American women's soccer history, with significant change on the horizon for both the NWSL and USWNT.
The big picture: Collective bargaining agreements tend to be tedious, and lawsuits can drag on. But as 2022 approaches, that's where the action is.
The USWNT roster for a pair of friendlies against Australia this month offers a glimpse of the future.
By the numbers: Just 10 of the 22 players headed to Australia were on the Tokyo 2020 team. The other 12 all have 10 or fewer caps.
No matter how you slice it, more Americans can name at least one player on the USWNT than on the USMNT, per a recent Axios/Momentive poll.
By the numbers: Overall, 32% of the 2,689 respondents could name at least one USWNT member, while 26% could name at least one USMNT member.
Axios spoke with Cindy Parlow Cone, the president of U.S. Soccer (and former USWNT star), about the ongoing CBA negotiations and equal pay lawsuit.
There's a lot going on right now. Where do things stand at the U.S. Soccer Federation?
The USWNT and USMNT are currently negotiating new CBAs as well, with the men's already expired and the women's expiring on Dec. 31.
State of play: The U.S. Soccer Federation announced in September that it had offered both teams the same proposal in an effort to align them under a single CBA. Complicating things is that the men and women have long had different priorities.
Saturday's NWSL title game featured 138 minutes of brilliant soccer between two teams — the Washington Spirit and Chicago Red Stars — who are now searching for new head coaches.
Why it matters: The championship was a microcosm of the NWSL's ninth season, which combined superlative play on the field with institutional failures off of it.
The NFL has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the city and county of St. Louis over the Rams' relocation to Los Angeles in 2016, a league spokesperson confirmed to Axios Wednesday.
Driving the news: The league will pay $790 million, according to St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, to end the four-year dispute. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is expected to reimburse the NFL "for most or all of the settlement," the New York Times reports.
Fenway Sports Group wants to buy an NBA team once it's done acquiring the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: FSG is pioneering a new sort of corporate sports ownership, buying up marquee franchises in different geographic markets.
Every Ohio State-Michigan football game is a huge deal, but this year the stakes are truly monumental.
Why it matters: A year after the pandemic canceled the 2020 rivalry game, this Saturday's contest in Ann Arbor will have major postseason implications for both schools.